Interracial Marriage In The South Before The Civil Rights Movement

737 words - 3 pages

An interracial couple married in Washington DC with the intentions of returning to their home state, Virginia, which strictly banned interracial marriages and did not allow any colored person to live with a white person as husband and wife. Mildred Jeter, who was black, and her husband Richard Loving, who was white, decided to return to their home state in Virginia in 1958. In October they were charged with unlawful cohabitation and where immediately sent to jail. In the courts eyes they violated the Virginia code 20-59 which stated: "Leaving State to evade law. -- If any white person and colored person shall go out of this State, for the purpose of being married, and with the intention of returning, and be married out of it, and afterwards return to and reside in it, cohabiting as man and wife, they shall be punished as provided in § 20-59, and the marriage shall be governed by the same law as if it had been solemnized in this State. The fact of their cohabitation here as man and wife shall be evidence of their marriage."(“Loving ET UX v. Virginia”) The couple was sentence to a year in jail if they agreed to leave the state of Virginia. Their court Judge may have been a very inconvenient one for he had very strong beliefs over interracial marriages himself. Judge Bazile strongly gave blessings to the thought that Almighty God put colored people in different continents with no intention of them mixing with one another.(“ Loving v. Virginia: The Case Over Interracial Marriage”) This may sound absurd to anyone who hears it today but back then it was a very reasonable explanation as to why interracial marriages shouldn’t happen.
In 1959 Mildred and Richard Loving pleaded guilty and agreed to leave Virginia. However, they were not content with the situation. In 1963 the couple hired an attorney named Bernard Cohen who was affiliated with the civil liberties union. The loving’s decided to file an appeal against the state of Virginia, furthermore they felt that the state’s law was a violation of marital privacy. (“Loving v. Virginia: The Background”) The couple had a magnificent argument and case to begin with, they had standing and they had the...

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