National Loving Day
Before June 12, 1967, sixteen U.S. states still had anti-miscegenation laws—laws that enforced racial segregation at the level of intimate relationships and marriages. These states banned interracial marriage until the U.S. Supreme Court made those laws unconstitutional. National Loving Day is the holiday observed every year on June 12 to celebrate the legalization of interracial marriage—although it’s not officially observed by the United States government.
The History Of National Loving Day
To understand the history of National Loving Day, one must first understand the court case that ended anti-miscegenation laws in the U.S. In 1958, Mildred Jeter married Richard Loving in Washington, D.C. The couple was arrested a few weeks after they returned to their hometown in Virginia because under the law, Mildred Jeter was classified as “colored” under Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act of 1924, and Richard Loving was classified as “Caucasian.”
After being arrested, the Lovings pleaded guilty to the charges of cohabiting as man and wife against the law of the Commonwealth of Virginia. They were able to avoid jail time by agreeing to leave the state and not return for 25 years. After moving to Washington, D.C., the couple wrote to U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. Kennedy referred the case to the ACLU, which brought it to the courts where it eventually ended up before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Warren Court ruled in favor of the Lovings, and they were able to return to Virginia with their three children, where they lived a quiet life until Richard Loving died in a car accident in 1975. Mildred Loving continued without him until she died in May of 2008 at the age of 68 years old.
Although no proper proclamations have been made or any laws passed that make this an official holiday as recognized by the U.S. government, it’s a holiday that people continue to celebrate to this day. It’s an especially important holiday for the Black Lives Matter movement and helps to illustrate the point of supporting black lives and obtaining justice for everyone.
Celebrating National Loving Day
This is a holiday that everyone can choose to celebrate in their own way. It’s a day on which people can take the time to learn about the history of racial inequality in the United States, volunteer their time and money to support racial justice issues, and commemorate the lives of the Lovings who worked to obtain justice for themselves. People can also take the time to watch the 2016 film “Loving,” which chronicles the struggle of the Lovings as their case made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Regardless of whether you’re taking the time to celebrate this holiday, be sure to use the hashtag #NationalLovingDay on your social media accounts to raise the profile of this holiday.