Mildred and Richard Loving's relationship went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court when they were arrested for breaking Virginia's anti-miscegenation laws. On June 20, 1963, Mildred wrote a letter to the ACLU asking for help. Tune in to learn more.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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hello, unwelcome, should cast iron Tracy. We well know I'm hoping for, and we are going to talk for this episode and another episode so to partner about a court case that has been in the news a lot lately, and that is the case of loving versus Virginia. Indeed. It then discussed often because there were in the midst of another legal battle in the U S and is actually going on in other countries as well about marriage.
but he and so where you find ourselves often looking back at previous cases that have gone to the Supreme Court right and this particular one,
has been cited explicitly. Pretty often
in the ongoing debate. That's before the Supreme Court, as we record this and its about Richard and Mildred loving
they were a couple whose relationship took them all the way to the Supreme Court. Richard was white and Mildred,
was african, american and native American and when they got married and nineteen fifty eight, it was illegal for them to be married and Virginia where they live, and it was also illegal and twenty four other states at that time. The Supreme Court's ruling
overturned, their conviction and voided all the anti discrimination laws that were still in existence in sixteen states. At that point,
and in the greater context of the Civil Rights Movement Mildred and Richard got married after Brown. Verses aboard of education outline school segregation
the Montgomery Boy, bus boycott and before that
The assassination lunch counter rights, we
the battle to return home to Virginia began after a series of enforced school and university integrations,
not long after the assassination of civil rights, leader, Megara, avars, theirs,
school and university integrations actually played a pretty big part in, and maybe some of the Supreme Court's reluctance to talk about this issue, which will talk about a little bit more in
part, so we're gonna tell the story in two parts. Today's part talks about the loving
themselves, how it
They wound up before the Supreme Court as well
the legal context of race and marriage at the time and then in the second part of
story will get into the actual Supreme Court proceedings. There are a whole lot easier to make sense of when you understand sort of the legal context of what was going on at the time and the laws that had been on the books in the past. So we're gonna start talking about Richard and Mildred,
Indeed, Sir Richard Perry, loving and Mildred Dolores Cheater grew up in central point Virginia, which is north of Richmond
The area had a reputation for being relatively led back in terms of race relations, the kind of place that people just
to be left alone and leave one another alone had a very live and let live mentality right. They they had no
others than she was eleven and he was seventeen, but they hadn't gone to the same schools, because
rules were segregated, their families
been friends and neighbors. Richards mother.
a licensed midwife and she eventually delivered there. Three children who were named Peggy, Donald and Sidney
that Richard and Mildred decided to marry after Mildred found out. She was expecting a child. He was a bricklayer.
twenty four and she was eighteen, her mother,
was part Rappahannock, Indian and her father was part. Cherokee see generally identified herself as indian, but under Virginia law she was classified as negro or black
so on June. Second, nineteen, fifty eight they got married in Washington DC, which it was about a hundred miles away from where they lived. They had
two DC to get married because it was illegal in Virginia for a white person to marry someone of another race Mildred did not notice. It was
though in illegal in Virginia for a couple to go somewhere else in order to get married and then come back to Virginia. Richard did not know that part so
both of them were unaware of some of the law that was governing their relationship at that point. So back in central point,
at two, a m on July, eleventh, nineteen, fifty eight Caroline count,
Virginia sheriff our Garnett Brooks and to death
he's entered the bedroom where the now Mary couple were sleeping,
After following an anonymous tip,
the one red flag of the live and let live
one another alone that has really come up and in terms of the community in the story this year
ask them what they were doing together and Richard pointed
marriage certificate that was hanging on the wall, at which point they were arrested for breaking,
genius and time laws
doesn't side knew the word message. Nation has the floor
no news of eighteen sixty three and it was in common use by the eighteen, sixty four presidential election and pamphlets that were made by a poem
of Abraham Lincoln, so it was
this sort of a fear, soaking technique. It was
there, the a team,
these version of the slippery slope, if slaves or
Even with education was the next inevitable step. So it was a sort of a word that was coined in light of the battle over slavery and the United States.
so Richard, was released on bail after spending the I in jail following the arrest. Mildred was
I'd, bail and actually had to stay in jail for four days until
hearing because of Virginia law. They were required to live apart, so Mildred and Richard each live with their parents. Their hearings took place
in bowling Green Virginia and Richards was on July, seventeen. Nineteen fifty eight and Virginia was on October thirteenth of that year. They each pleaded not guilty to the charges against them. This episode of stuff you, MRS history, glasses, brought. You buy Norton three sixty with lifelong. Let's just
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which in save with Geiger it's almost better than sports judge, Edward still, the third rejected their pleas and sent the case to the Green Jerry,
but before they could appear before the grand jury, Mildred actually gave birth to a baby boy.
Their lawyer, Frank Beazley, advise both of them to plead guilty and his hope was. The judge would be lenient on them if they entered a guilty plea, so
on January six, nineteen, fifty nine Judge
Yom Embassy or found Richard and Milk and Mildred guilty. He sent it
I'm too a year. In prison, but he suspended the sentence if they would move out of the state and lived somewhere else for twenty five years, so he effectively banished to them from the state of Virginia. They could each vessel
Virginia, but not together. They couldn't entered
they together and they couldn't be together within the state, so they went to live with Mildred Cousin in Washington Dc Mildred
at home to Virginia for the birth of two more children, but Richard couldn't be there with her for them and they really weren't happy living in Washington DC. They wanted to be
go home together, at least to visit their friends and family, and they didn't
a lot of money, so they can afford at attorney to appeal their case or try to fight the court order. Mildred cousin
rested that she write to Robert F Kennedy, who was the? U S attorney general at the time, thinking that he might be able to lift the court order against them and Robert S. Kennedys advice was that
contact the American Civil Liberties Union on June twentieth. Nineteen sixty
three Mildred wrote a letter to the acl you to ask them for help and
One line of it read. We know we
live there, but we would like to go back once in a while to visit. Our families and friends
He was not aware: neither of them were aware of exactly how big of a battle
That letter was going to launch one of their law.
Yours from ACL you with named Bernard or Bernard Cohen, and
Cohen's explanation of this was they
for in love with one another and wanted the right to live together as husband and wife in Virginia, without any interference from official them. When I told richer
This case was in all likelihood, going to go to the Supreme Court of the United States. He became
I'd I'd and his jaw dropped
What we're gonna talk about next, with the sort of but legal
story that you need to have in your minds once we actually get to the Supreme Court, alot
these are pretty difficult cases.
Being a they involve, actual people, which is as one of the things that makes this kind of hard to talk about. I think
At a time when you read the legal synopsis of of Supreme Court arguments, the people involved are kind of left out or at least
thing is obscure. Yeah
smaller role and so a lot of the
since that we're going to talk about where we were going to talk about who these people are and why this matter to them. So this
was obviously a pivotal moment in the civil rights movement, but it didn't happen in isolation. It
really long. History of laws and court challenges that had already happened in the United States start
as early as the colonies. These aren't
We cases and laws that were cited in the context of loving verses Virginia, but these are
particularly notable once so. We started
Sixteen sixty one when Virginia was the first colony to pass a ban on interracial marriage
and then we're gonna hot forward to the civil war and the Fourteenth amendment
has ratified in eighteen. Sixty eight was part of reconstruction and green
citizenship to everyone born or naturalised in the United States, and also stated that states could not deprive any person of light
liberty or property without due process of law
nor deny any person within its jurisdiction that equal protection of the laws
according to the fourteenth amendment, those the federal government and state governments must give all citizens equal protection and due process and I'll be
born in the United States or naturalised were citizens in
eighteen. Seventy eight Virginia made it illegal for people of different races to leave the state and Mary elsewhere and then return
in the same year, the Virginia Supreme Court issued a decision and Kenny versus the Commonwealth, which was the case of a white man who had been living with a black woman similar
they had gone to Washington DC to get married because they couldn't get married in Virginia, which meant that their marriage was invalided Virginia. So the court upheld
their guilty verdict in Kenny, verses, Commonwealth and in this decision the court called interracial marriages quote. So
natural that God and nature seemed to forbid them. The king.
just commonwealth ruling also cited in eighteen. Seventy eight bigger me case Reynolds Verses, United States in this
George Reynolds, who was Brigham young secretary, had been found guilty of big of me
was more men and he challenged the federal government's anti bigamy laws arguing.
They violated his first amendment rights to freedom of religion, the Supreme Court upheld
threats to handle their own marriage laws in
Majority Opinion Chief Justice Morris, our weight said quote. It is impossible to believe that the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom was intended to prohibit legislation in respect to this most important feature of social life.
The ruling was it the first amendment protected belief, not religious practices. They were criminal. In this case, big of me
in eighteen. Eighty, three paces verses
Alabama focused on the relationship between tony pace. He was black and Mary J Coxe, who was white. They
living together, but not married. The Supreme Court upheld
lie itself which prohibited relationships between unmarried people, including unmarried people of different races. But the Supreme Court also found that the penalty was differ.
for couples of the same, raise verses, interracial couples, and that aspect was viewed as unconstitutional, so
pace verses, Alabama Supreme Court upheld antimissile donation laws as long as the punishment
differ in how severe it was for people of different races there
in the early nineteen hundreds as immigrants of various races ethnicities were coming into the United States. Many state
actually pass laws prohibiting interim interracial relationships and the same
government pass laws banning or restricting the number of immigrants from specific countries. There was a really
increasing focus on the idea of racial Pirie Aspect,
we on the racial purity specifically of white people, and that meant that the countries that are there
If that were passing, these laws also had to define who counted, as quote white, so
in Virginia the law. The key
increasingly Nero about who was classified as a white person before now.
In time anyone with twenty five.
or more african blood was considered to be black, that dropped to fifteen percent
nineteen ten and then the one drop rule came under the racial integrity, active nineteen, twenty four, so
came more and more strict of who was classified as a white person under state are
under the racial integrity statute. Section twenty
Fifty nine marriages between white end quote coloured. People were a felony. Both parties could be sent
two between one in five years in prison and in section twenty four
yea interracial couples who were living in Virginia, who married in another state and then returned to Virginia face. The same penalty because they were leaving the state to evade the law.
These are the two sections of the racial integrity statute that Richard and Mildred
having had been charged with them, had fled guilty to breaking many state.
Had repealed there an time assassination laws by the time the loving case actually made it to the Supreme Court.
Education laws had been struck down: California, Nevada and Arizona in the late nineteenth fifties after court cases there. However, sixteen states
all of them southern or bordering on southern states. Still outlawed interracial. Marriage is an all.
Of these sixteen Miss codes had been upheld by lower courts. So we talk
a bit earlier about how a lot of it
going on after Brown versus the Board of Education, outlawed school segregation, the United States Supreme
had declined to hear several cases that world related to interracial marriage in the years leading up to loving verses, Virginia
seemed to outside observers that, in the aftermath of Brown versus the Board of Education, when there had been a violent backlash, win lawn
Smith had had to force schools to integrate all kinds of
demonstrations and killings that that court just seemed reluctant to get into the idea of race relations in the south by
not long before being presented with the loving case. The Supreme Court had heard the case of Mclaughlin versus Florida in question.
Florida statute, seven, nine, eight point: zero, five, which stated
any negro man and white woman or any white man. A negro women who are not married to
other who habitually live in and occupy in the night time. The same room shall each be punished
imprisonment, not exceeding twelve months or by fine not exceeding
There was no similar law in Florida for coupled with the same wraith,
There were other laws outlawing adultery and lewd cohabitation, but these required proof for conviction.
Nevermind, eight point: zero five did not the case, actually
before the? U S Supreme Court in December, of nineteen sixty four and although
it didn't apply to an time assassination laws as a whole. The court unanimously struck down the Florida law requiring different points.
based on race, violated the equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment. It was while the Mclaughlin
case was being prepared that Mildred Mildred Loving Letter arrived at the ACL you
The acl you had been on the look out for cases that would help them take down the ant Simon, said, donation, laws and
that's, where we're going to stop with part one. That's the context
or what was going on in the world and what was going on in a law leading up to the actual Supreme Court hearing, which we all talk about in the next episode tie on Bobby Brown. Welcomes my pod cast beyond the deity knew so from I hurt radio. You probably know me as the founder of the cosmetics company
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in I view- and it is just coincidentally, the completely after email to go with this episode today,
came over the weekend. Its firm Zelda,
all this has Holly and Tracy reason,
the new by shot game came out for Ps3, Xbox and pc, and a lot of people have gotten really angry. Why? Well it takes place.
Nineteen twelve and acknowledges the horror and amount of racism during that time, while I'm busy with schools, so I haven't played it myself yet from what I've seen it.
representation of nineteen twelve? However, I think a lot of people,
aren't really aware of the extent of racism at that time, even in the north. I would love to see
we're here? Rather
bestowed about an individual who overcame racism in the nineteen ten twenties and thirties. So what does this have
with the Supreme Court Thurgood Marshall, my fate
historical lawyer and Supreme Court. Justice was born in nineteen o eight and had to deal with this kind of racism during his youth and much of his adulthood. I think he would be a great podcast subject
especially in light of controversy in one of America's favorite video games fan fibres. Thank you so much for your fantastic work. I look forward to hearing the next episode so first thank you sell
second, when this female arrived, I was paid
and I was not aware at how many people on the internet were really angry about by Jacques Infinite and calling the game racist, because it depicts racism and it doesn't it
racism in a really want
frank and shocking way, one of the very first things that you have to do in the
is make a decision between the stuff,
trying to me racist acts and they not racist.
which is also I haven't, played it yet, but that's the other option is also horrifying. Agree there either. What is your near gonna? Throw a baseball at someone rate, the you,
at the trees or even a throne.
the baseball, hadn't, interracial couple
are you going to throw the baseball at the union
their whose raffling off the choice to throw the baseball,
It's an upsetting thing. It was a thing.
positive was like
there's a lot when you're walking around the world of via sack infinite there. There are like propaganda posters, theirs
Also pretty early in the game bathrooms Irving,
in the biometric brains out you're, always in these train spotting bathrooms and by a shock and the trains binding bathrooms. Enviro shock are the ones that are labelled for co,
an Irish, its upsetting yeah,
that setting to a modern player, and there are people here who are interpreting this as racist. My argument is that the pit,
Something is not the same as endorsing it, and it's pretty clear in the context of the game that racism is bad.
who I was,
I went looking around trying to find historical propaganda posters to kind of compared to what some buyers shock has a near that a lot of them have historical roots that I have not yet found.
the examples that I found the examples from later from like World WAR too, there are some really stunningly racially charged world war, two posters.
Uganda from the United States
So, yes, thank you very much Tilda for sending this is, I think,
regularly relevant to both the game and what we're talking about in this episode today, Pollyanna talking think yesterday.
How the review of the civil rights movement that many people learn in schools is very sad eyes
similar to what you said earlier. We were discussing in learning empty helium school. When we know it's often being presented his facts to remember, we lose track of the act
people who are involved in affected and suffering in many cases, and so it's easy to not really think
the human condition involved in some of these elements right. I have not forgotten
and the virus I can, but it yet. So I can't really comment on how the story goes.
Beginnings, and there are definitely
to be angry about in that game is extremely violent and extremely gratuitously, graphically violent
the racism? I think it is presented in a way that is horrifying, also referred.
Of the era when the game will enhance the villain of the piece Yom understanding correctly in canals, I haven't, played it right. The whole, like the whole idea of white supremacy and american exceptionalism, like those are definitely billions in by Jacques
Yes, thank you very much for that that suggestion and that astute letter zelda-
We would like to write to us. You can we're at history podcast at
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