Loving You With All My Heart

Person to Know
Mildred & Richard Loving
Original Publication
February 20, 2014
Last Updated
Jan 17, 2023 5:17 AM

Spotlight on Richard and Mildred Loving

In 1958, when Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter wanted to marry, 16 states including their home state of Virginia considered interracial marriage illegal. Loving and Jeter were forced to travel to Washington D.C. to become legally married, but were promptly thrown in jail upon returning home. The couple plead guilty and were sentenced to jail. The original sentence of 25 years was reduced under the condition that they not return to the state together for 25 years.  Separated from their families and barred from the state, the Lovings sought legal help from attorney Bernard Cohen. Eventually the case reached the Supreme Court, and on June 12, 1967 the Supreme Court declared the Racial Integrity Act of 1924 (which banned interracial marriage) unconstitutional along with all other interracial marriage bans in the United States. 

The United States has always been a melting pot of mixing; many slaves had children for their owners (whether “consensual” or not) creating the myriad of skin tones and features that populate the American population today. Until 1967, the idea that the races were separate and should remain separate was being staunchly upheld in the South even though a great deal of mixing had already occurred and elsewhere in the States interracial marriage had been happening for years (re: Fredrick Douglass and Helen Pitts, 1884). The victory of Loving v. Virginia was one of many steps needed to promote the ideas of equality and uphold the premise of freedom.

However, even now, 47 years later people still have a problem with the idea of two people loving each other for who they are regardless of their skin color. In 2013, a simple Cheerio's commercial sparked a frenzy of outrage over the interracial family featured, proving that America is not post-racial and still has a ways to go.


Loving You With All My Heart

Love is an infinite, colorless void

Wrapped deep in the human soul--

It is patient and kind,

committed and selfless

An act of devotion to another half of one's self

Pure and beautiful,

A gift, given freely

To those patient and open to its charm

Unapologetic and unconditional

always trusting, always protecting

An anchor in the worst storm

It brings out the best in us,

and lifts us high.

The ability to look beyond one's self

Worry, care, reject survival instincts

To put another life before your own

And be fulfilled by its magic.

A magic that cannot be explained

And so we fight for it

all our lives, hoping

Wishing and praying

Like starstruck teens on shooting stars,

For that rare occurrence

For the pop and bang

of colorful fireworks

The missing piece that completes us

Makes us stronger,



The controversy with this “black” history fact is that in recent years Mildred Loving (and her grandson) have denied that she was a black woman or has any black ancestry. The claims of people who met her at the time say she claimed to be African American in the 60’s, but now several of her family members deny that claim and assert she was 100% Native American.[9][10][11] Regardless of Mrs. Loving’s race, the success of dismantling of the interracial marriage ban has impacted all races in the US, including black people. Thus, I’m leaving this post in the “Black History” section.

References & Footnotes

  1. Paul Holtum. "10 Fascinating Interracial Marriages in History". Listverse. January 25, 2011
  2. Jessica Cumberbatch Anderson. "‘The Loving Story’ Takes Intimate Look At Virginia’s First Legal Interracial Marriage (PHOTOS)". Huffington Post. January 18, 2012
  3. Scott Williams. "Timeline of Fredrick Douglass". African American History of Western New York; visited February 2014
  4. Braden Goyette. "Cheerios Commercial Featuring Mixed Race Family Gets Racist Backlash (VIDEO)". Huffington Post. May 31, 2013
  5. Dorr, Gregory Michael. " Racial Integrity Laws of the 1920s". Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, 30 May. 2014.
  6. Bump, Phillip. "What overturning interracial marriage bans might tell us about what happens next with gay marriageThe Washington Post 6 Oct. 2014.
  7. "Where Were Interracial Couples Illegal?LovingDay.org. 2012.
  8. "Loving v. Virginia: The Case Over Interracial Marriage". American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU); visited March 2015
  9. Sally Jacobs. “50 Years Later, The Couple At The Heart of Loving v. Virginia Still Stirs Controversy”. GBH. June 11 2017
  10. Arica L. Coleman. “What You Didn’t Know About Loving v. Virginia”. Time. June 10, 2016
  11. Yesha Callahan. “Mildred Loving's Grandson Says She Wasn't Black”. The Root. November 4, 2016

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