The graves of Richard and Mildred Loving are seen in a rural cemetery near their former home in Caroline County, Virginia, Wednesday, June 7, 2017. Richard Loving, a white man, and his wife Mildred, a black woman, challenged Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage and ultimately won their case at the U.S. Supreme Court in 1967. Monday, June 12, 2017 marks 50 years since the Supreme Court issued that opinion, which overturned laws against interracial marriage in 16 states. (AP Photo/Jessica Gresko)
Photo: Jessica Gresko/AP
Photo: Jessica Gresko/AP

A timeline of Loving v. Virginia

Richard and Mildred Loving fought for 10 years to validate their right to marry each other and live in their home state of Virginia.

June 2, 1958: Richard Perry Loving, a white construction worker, marries Mildred Jeter, who is of mixed race but identifies primarily as Native American. Because the two are of different races, they can’t legally marry in Virginia so they go to Washington D.C. to exchange vows.

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July 11, 1958: The Caroline County prosecutor obtains arrest warrants for the couple, who have returned to Central Point, Va., to live. A few nights later the county sheriff breaks down the door and enters the Lovings’ bedroom. He arrests the couple and jails them briefly.

October 1958: The Lovings are indicted on felony charges of violating Virginia’s anti-miscegenation law.

Jan. 6, 1959: While standing trial, the Lovings decide to plead guilty as part of a deal in which the court sentences them to a year in jail but “suspend(s) said sentence … upon the provision that both accused leave … the state of Virginia at once and not return together … for a period of 25 years.”

January 1959: Richard and Mildred Loving move to Washington and live with Mildred’s cousin and his wife. The Lovings have three children.

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June 1963: Mildred Loving writes to Attorney General Robert Kennedy asking that he help the family return legally to Virginia. Kennedy refers the matter to the D.C. branch of the ACLU.

Mildred Loving and her husband Richard in 1965. Richard died in a car wreck in 1975. Mildred lived to be 68, passing away in 2008. (AP photo)
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Nov. 4, 1963: The Lovings’ ACLU lawyers ask the trial court to vacate the Lovings’ conviction. The judge refuses, writing: “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.”

March 7, 1966: The Virginia Supreme Court upholds the state’s anti-miscegenation law but rules that the trial court should not have forced the couple to leave the state.

April 10, 1967: The U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments in the Loving case. The national ACLU, the NAACP, the Japanese-American Citizens League, U.S. Catholic bishops and others had filed amicus briefs in support of the Lovings.

June 12, 1967: In a unanimous ruling, the court finds that Virginia’s anti-miscegenation statute is unconstiutional. Chief Justice Earl Warren writes the court’s opinion: “Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the state. These convictions must be reversed.”

Georgia is in the midst of a dramatic transformation in which minorities will become the majority in about 15 years. The AJC is covering that story in all of its manifestations -- digging deep for data that expose the trends and examining how our daily interactions affect one another.

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