By Evette D. Champion
Richmond, Virginia is going to be the location for the upcoming movie of the story of Richard and Mildred Loving—an interracial couple who was arrested because they were married, which was illegal in the 1950s. They were sentenced to a year in prison.
In 1967, the couple sued and their case was brought before the United States Supreme Court, where there was an unanimous decision that the law was unconstitutional, thus reversed Pace v. Alabama (1883). Ultimately, it ended any race-related legal restrictions regarding marriage in the country.
Following the announcement of the Supreme Court’s decision on the matter, there was an increase of interracial marriages in the country, and on June 12th, it is remembered as Loving Day.
Mildred Loving will be played by Ruth Negga and Richard Loving will be played by Joel Edgerton, with Jeff Nichols directing.
Nancy Buirski, the producer, said the Lovings were not activists and they saw themselves as ordinary people who wanted to be together.
The Lovings were ready and willing to fight to have the right to love each other, live together, and have children without any consequences.
Govenor McAuliffe gave a statement in which he said: “Loving is a significant American story that should be told, and I am happy to announce it will be filmed in Virginia. Attracting these projects to the Commonwealth helps build the new Virginia economy by generating new revenues, creating good-paying jobs for our citizens and continuing to highlight Virginia’s historical significance.”
When Mildred was 18, she became pregnant with her first child, Donald. The couple drove to Washington, D.C. to get married so they could evade Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act of 1924. When they returned to Central Point, Virginia, the police received an anonymous tip that the two had tied the knot. Instead of going to their home during the day, the local police raided the Loving’s home, hoping to find them having sex, which was also a crime in Virginia.
On January 6, 1959, the couple plead guilty and were giving a year in prison—although the sentence was suspended for 25 years only if the Lovings agreed to leave the state. They packed their belongings and moved to Washington, D.C.
The Loving case has been cited in 2013 as precedent in a federal court case which claimed the laws against same sex marriages are unconstitutional.