Happy Loving Day!
What’s Loving Day you might ask? Well, a quick Google search will give you a much more in depth history, but essentially, Mildred and Richard Loving were a mixed-race couple who were married in Washington DC in 1958. At that time, it was illegal in a number of states (including their home state of Virginia) for black and white people to marry. Clearly these laws were messed up, so the Loving couple took the case to the Supreme Court and on June 12th, 1967, the court unanimously ruled that laws prohibiting interracial marriage were unconstitutional.
J and I were only married recently–February 15, 2020–but a short time ago, our marriage wouldn’t have been legal in a number of states. It is such a blessing that I could not imagine a world in which it would not be legal for us to get married just because of the different colors of our skin. And sure, we’ve had a few run-ins with a dirty look or a shocked face when people see us together; but when it comes to our friends and family whom we love, we have never been met with anything but love and acceptance. Thank goodness for how far we’ve come as a country since 1967, but let’s not forget how far we still have to go.
The story of the Lovings is an amazing story (and how perfect of a last name right? It has also been turned into a movie and a documentary if you’re interested), but I think it was really powerful for me to realize that 1967 was only FIFTY FOUR years ago. Of course, anti-miscegenation laws were repealed in a number of states prior to 1967, but still, a federal law was established not that long ago. I was curious about laws in our home state of Michigan. Turns out our laws against inter-racial marriage were repealed in 1883–interestingly, only a few years before our home was built.
Isn’t that kind of mind blowing? Like, this beautiful house that we are turning into a home is just about as old as J and my legal right in Michigan to even be married.
I have always loved studying history–I even received a minor from Hillsdale College in history–but I also always feel like these awful, historical events were way, way in the past. In reality, these oppressive laws were overturned not that long ago. I have come to realize that having the context of living in an old farmhouse has helped me to gain some perspective on historical events. Not only is our home about as old as our right to get married, but it is also about thirty years older than my right to vote, and about 75 years older than J’s right to vote.
Our home is older than the passage of so many laws guaranteeing women and people of color their rights, but it is still structurally sound. These oppressive laws were overturned, but those racist or sexist ideologies that were so interwoven into society are also still structurally sound in so many places. Yes, the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964, and Loving v. Virginia happened in 1967. But history was really not that long ago.
Overall, I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities J and I have today. We still see a lot of problems and hatred in our world and we are committed to working toward making our country better–honestly, isn’t that the most patriotic thing a person can do? To see the flaws in a country and work to better it? We know that we are so blessed to live in the time we do, and we owe so much to the people who came before us.
We celebrate Loving Day because it paved the way for the more free country that we live in today. Mildred and Richard Loving were two brave individuals who never sought the spotlight, they just wanted to be able to love each other. Today, we celebrate their victory 54 years ago that has led to a more just and equitable America. Happy Loving Day!