Monday, May 5, 2008

A Great Woman Remembered

I read just now on Feminist Law Professors that Mildred Loving has died. Mildred Loving made the world a better place when she challenged a Virginia law which baned interracial marriages, a challenge that would lead to the Supreme Court's ruling that all such bans were unconstitutional:
… Loving and her white husband, Richard, changed history in 1967 when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld their right to marry. The ruling struck down laws banning racially mixed marriages in at least 17 states.

They had married in Washington in 1958, when she was 18. Returning to their Virginia hometown, they were arrested within weeks and convicted on charges of “cohabiting as man and wife, against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth,” according to their indictments.

The couple avoided a year in jail by agreeing to a sentence mandating that they immediately leave Virginia. They moved to Washington and launched a legal challenge a few years later.

By having the courage to challenge the injustices that faced her, Mildred Loving made a real difference in the world. From all of us, thanks.

UPDATE: You can read and hear more about Loving and about the Supreme Court decision at NPR. To find out how today's Supreme Court might have decided Loving, visit Lawyers, Guns and Money.

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