Professional Development: The Loving Story

Belema Iyo.

The Loving Story is a documentary that follows the story of how an interracial couple changed a nation. The Loving Story premiered on HBO on the 14th of February, 2012. The documentary follows the life story of two Virginia natives, Richard and Mildred Loving who got married in DC in 1958 and moved back to their hometown of Virginia where they were arrested because inter-racial marriage was illegal in the state.

Mildred was a woman of African & Native American descent while Richard was a white man. They had three kids. They were both dragged out of their bed and arrested for getting married to each other. On January 6, 1959, the Lovings pled guilty and were sentenced to one year in prison, with the sentence suspended for 25 years on condition that the couple leave the state of Virginia. The trial judge in the case, Leon M. Bazile, echoing Johann Friedrich Blumenbach‘s 18th-century interpretation of race, proclaimed that “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”

The documentary details the story of the Lovings’ and all that happens leading up to the Loving v. Virginia Civil Rights case that made its’ way to the Supreme Court. In a unanimous decision, they declared Virginia’s anti-miscegenation statute, the “Racial Integrity Act of 1924“, unconstitutional, thereby overturning Pace v. Alabama (1883) and ending all race-based legal restrictions on marriage in the United States. Despite this Supreme Court ruling, such laws remained on the books, although unenforceable, in several states until 2000, when Alabama became the last state to repeal its law against mixed-race marriage.

The documentary goes to show the inspirational story of a quiet family that changed the United States. The documentary includes photographs and videos of the Loving family through those years. In the documentary, after they lose one of their first court cases, Mildred states, “you have to loose the small battles to win the big war.”

The Loving Story


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