1959 January 6

Mildred and Richard Loving Plead Guilty – To Being Married


Mildred and Richard Loving on this day pleaded guilty to violating a Virginia law against interracial marriage. They had been rousted out of bed by sheriff’s deputies on July 11, 1958, and arrested for their “crime” of being married. The Lovings were sentenced to one year in prison. The sentence was suspended on the condition that they leave the state — they moved to Washington, D.C. Mildred later wrote to Attorney General Robert Kennedy, asking for legal assistance. Kennedy felt there was nothing he could do, but he referred the case to the local ACLU chapter, which took the case, eventually to the Supreme Court.

In Loving v. Virginia, decided on June 12, 1967, the Court ruled that miscegenation laws, barring marriage between people of different races, were unconstitutional. The California Supreme Court, acting under the California State Constitution, had declared a state ban of interracial marriage unconstitutional on October 1, 1948, in Perez v. Sharp.

Read about the famous case: Peter Wallenstein, Tell the Court I Love My Wife (2002)

See the acclaimed film, Loving (2016)

See the HBO documentary: The Loving Story (2012)

Learn more about the case: https://www.aclu.org/racial-justice/loving-v-virginia-case-over-interracial-marriage

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