Lucretia Berry • June 6, 2023
Monday, June 12th is Loving Day — a day that holds special significance as it honors the love and resilience of Richard and Mildred Loving, whose courageous fight against anti-miscegenation laws changed the course of history. Before I share four ways to celebrate, let’s understand the history that demanded their fight.
A Brief History of Anti-miscegenation Laws
Anti-miscegenation laws, also known as racial segregation laws or anti-amalgamation laws, were statutes enacted in the United States to prohibit interracial marriage and relationships. These laws originated in the colonial period and were prevalent throughout the country until the late 20th century. The primary purpose of these laws was to create and maintain a racial hierarchy, with ‘White’ people at the top. The specific racial groups targeted by these laws varied across different states, but the most common target was African Americans.
One of the most significant cases that challenged anti-miscegenation laws was Loving v. Virginia in 1967. Richard Loving, a white man, and Mildred Jeter, a Black woman, had married in Washington, D.C., where interracial marriage was legal, and then returned to their home state of Virginia. However, their marriage was considered invalid under Virginia’s anti-miscegenation laws, and they were charged with violating the state’s Racial Integrity Act. The Lovings were convicted and faced imprisonment, but they decided to challenge the law. Their case ultimately reached the Supreme Court, which unanimously ruled in their favor, declaring anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional.
The Loving v. Virginia case marked a significant milestone in the fight against racial discrimination and the pursuit of equal rights. The Supreme Court’s ruling not only invalidated Virginia’s anti-miscegenation laws but also struck down similar laws in 15 other states that still enforced them. The case established a precedent that marriage is a fundamental right and that any law restricting it based on race violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. This landmark decision paved the way for the dismantling of other discriminatory laws and policies and contributed to the broader civil rights movement. It symbolized a step forward in the struggle for racial equality and challenged the deeply entrenched racial ignorance of the time, leaving a lasting impact on American society.
Four Ways to Celebrate Loving Day
Today, Loving Day is an annual celebration that commemorates the landmark Supreme Court decision in the case of Loving v. Virginia. This day holds special significance as it honors the love and resilience of the Lovings, whose courageous fight changed the course of history. It is an opportunity for individuals and communities to come together, celebrate, and reflect on the pursuit of love and justice.
1. Learn and Educate
One meaningful way to celebrate Loving Day is by deepening your understanding of its historical context. Take time to educate yourself about the Lovings’ story, the struggles they faced, and the impact their case had on civil rights and interracial relationships. Read books, watch documentaries, or explore online resources to gain insights into the significance of Loving Day. Begin by watching The History of White People in America, a series of animated shorts that teaches how and why race and THEN miscegenation were invented.
2. Engage in Conversations
Loving Day presents an excellent occasion to engage in conversations about love, human rights, and racial diversity. Organize discussions with friends, family, or members of your community to promote dialogue and understanding. Share personal experiences, exchange stories, and explore different perspectives on interracial relationships. These conversations can foster empathy, challenge stereotypes, and contribute to a more inclusive society. You can read my and my husband’s story, if you like.
3. Attend Loving Day Celebrations
Joining Loving Day celebrations is a fantastic way to connect with like-minded individuals and celebrate the power of love and respect. Did you know that one of Brownicity’s first events (2016) was a Loving Day celebration called Breaking Beauty Barriers?
Check local event listings, community centers, or social media platforms to find Loving Day events in your area.
4. Support and Advocate
Beyond the day itself, you can continue to support the principles of Loving Day throughout the year. Get involved with organizations that promote racial literacy and equity, civil rights, and social justice. Volunteer your time, contribute to causes, or lend your voice to advocate for policies that ensure equal rights and protections for all individuals.
Loving Day serves as a reminder of the power of love to break down barriers and challenge ignorance and injustice. It invites us to celebrate love, promote equality, and work towards a more just society. We can honor the legacy of the Lovings and contribute to a world where love knows no boundaries. Let’s embrace the spirit of Loving Day and strive for a future built on love, respect, and dignity for all.
Lucretia is a wife, mom of three, and a former college professor, who founded Brownicity with the purpose of making scholarly-informed, antiracism education accessible in order to inspire a culture of true belonging and justice for all. Her 2017 TED Talk, ‘Children will light up the world if we don’t keep them in the dark’ is well received, as well as her books and courses: