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This Is Why Every June People Observe ‘Loving Day’

Mildred had a cousin living in Washington D.C, so the Lovings spent the next several years living in a Negro ghetto in the nation’s capital. They continued to visit Virginia, but cautiously and separately so as not to get arrested again. 

In 1963, one of the Lovings’ three children was hit by a car and that, according to Mildred, was “the straw that broke the camel’s back.” At the suggestion of her cousin, she wrote Robert F. Kennedy, who was U.S. Attorney General at the time. He directed her to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and two young lawyers, Bernard Cohen and Philip J. Hirschkop took the Lovings’ case for free. They started by asking Judge Bazile to overturn his original ruling. The judge refused. 

The case then went to the Supreme Court of Virginia, which also upheld the original ruling, so the case went to the U.S. Supreme Court. There, the two lawyers argued miscegenation laws were in essence “slavery statutes.” 

The Supreme Court justices unanimously voted to strike down state miscegenation laws. Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote, “The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.”

After setting the precedent for Loving Day by winning the right to be married, the Loving family moved to Central Point, Virginia, where they lived for eight years before Richard was killed by a drunk driver in 1975. Mildred survived the accident, but lost her right eye.

Mildred Loving died from pneumonia at her home in Central Point on May 2, 2008.  She never remarried, saying in a 1994 interview, “I married the only man I ever loved, and I’m happy for the time we had together.”