Mildred Loving Dies

***STATEMENT by MILDRED LOVING***

Loving for All

By Mildred Loving

Prepared for Delivery on June 12, 2007,
The 40th Anniversary of the Loving vs. Virginia Announcement

When my late husband, Richard, and I got married in Washington, DC in 1958, it wasn’t to make a political statement or start a fight. We were in love, and we wanted to be married.

We didn’t get married in Washington because we wanted to marry there. We did it there because the government wouldn’t allow us to marry back home in Virginia where we grew up, where we met, where we fell in love, and where we wanted to be together and build our family. You see, I am a woman of color and Richard was white, and at that time people believed it was okay to keep us from marrying because of their ideas of who should marry whom.

When Richard and I came back to our home in Virginia, happily married, we had no intention of battling over the law. We made a commitment to each other in our love and lives, and now had the legal commitment, called marriage, to match. Isn’t that what marriage is?

Not long after our wedding, we were awakened in the middle of the night in our own bedroom by deputy sheriffs and actually arrested for the “crime” of marrying the wrong kind of person. Our marriage certificate was hanging on the wall above the bed. The state prosecuted Richard and me, and after we were found guilty, the judge declared: “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.” He sentenced us to a year in prison, but offered to suspend the sentence if we left our home in Virginia for 25 years exile.

We left, and got a lawyer. Richard and I had to fight, but still were not fighting for a cause. We were fighting for our love.

Though it turned out we had to fight, happily Richard and I didn’t have to fight alone. Thanks to groups like the ACLU and the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, and so many good people around the country willing to speak up, we took our case for the freedom to marry all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. And on June 12, 1967, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that, “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,” a “basic civil right.”

My generation was bitterly divided over something that should have been so clear and right. The majority believed that what the judge said, that it was God’s plan to keep people apart, and that government should discriminate against people in love. But I have lived long enough now to see big changes. The older generation’s fears and prejudices have given way, and today’s young people realize that if someone loves someone they have a right to marry.

Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the “wrong kind of person” for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights.

I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.

***END STATEMENT***

Comments

  1. jason says

    Mildred Loving was a truly inspirational woman. It’s hard to fight against closed minds but she did it – and succeeded. I hope she gets due recognition from all the mainstream media. Thoughts to her family and friends.

  2. Derrick from Philly says

    Both the Lovings died too young by today’s life expectancy, but they accomplished more in their lives than I could do if I lived to be two hundred.

    It is sad that Mrs Loving had to come back to Andy’s Blog under these circumstances, but after the news stories of bigotry committed two women of color this week (the Ohio university campus administrator, and the Memphis highschool administrator), it is a relief to me that we have a story about a black woman who believed in human, civil & marriage rights for everybody.

    Well, she certainly picked a husband with an appropriate surname for what they both stood for, didn’t she?

  3. says

    What a truly beautiful story! I wish I knew about her story before her death. People like Mildred Loving give me great hope for our future – despite what the mainstream media and local news might have you believe.

    The next time I find someone who doesn’t believe in gay marriage I’ll just think of this eloquent woman and her vision of love for all.

  4. Michael Bedwell says

    As with so many things relatively not that long ago—the first decade or so of AIDS, segregation & Jim Crow laws, the treatment of migratory farm workers, the treatment of women pre modern feminism, the treatment of gays—one had to have lived during the Lovings time to really grasp what it was like.

    And from such visceral pain, the courage and example of the Lovings [and others who fought for interracial marriage equality] is all the more remarkable; to be honored and remembered. As heinous as the ban on gay marriage equality is, we do not risk jail for attempting it. Still, Mrs. Loving would tell us not to take “No” for an answer.

    Bless her and her husband.

  5. noah says

    “It is sad that Mrs Loving had to come back to Andy’s Blog under these circumstances, but after the news stories of bigotry committed two women of color this week (the Ohio university campus administrator, and the Memphis highschool administrator), it is a relief to me that we have a story about a black woman who believed in human, civil & marriage rights for everybody.”

    –Dude,

    You totally just spat on Midred Loving’s memory by committing an act of racism. Damn, why didn’t you just come out and say that she was a credit to her race or something else as condescendingly racist?!

    So what if two women of color said something homophobic? They don’t speak for all African-Americans any more than you represent all gay people.

    The Lovings fought for the right to be individuals who could marry whom they chose and not be subject to raced-based groupings and laws to enforce that. The actions of one person should not be reflective of a group that comprises millions of people!

    African-Americans as a whole are not responsible for the actions of two of their numbers. How often to do we read of stories about white people saying and doing extremely violent anti-gay activities? John Hagee? Peter Labrera? Have you ever written a reply that says how wonderful it is that a white, heterosexual male has done something nice?

    Lawrence King was biracial. His murderer was white. Last year, Michael Sandy was murdered by white youths. Do all white people bear responsibility for King’s and Sandy’s murder?

    Get your head out of your privileged, bigoted, condescending ass!

    The reason behind the law that the Loving case overturned was about maintaining the absurdity of white purity. Under the law of the land in New Orleans, a white person with 1/64 African ancestry was declared black. Loving was mixed-race herself. Look at her picture.

    The laws were put there to ensure white supremacy and codify that African ancestry was a horrible stain. By your words, you continue the same terrible line of thought that makes blackness a bad thing: Mildred Loving’s words rehabilitate women of color because she shares the same dreadful DNA as two other people. So what if Loving never met the two other women, Loving and others who share the same DNA must bear the burden for those horrible women.

    Let’s be honest about this: In the history of America, black women do not have a historical role in the oppression of gay people, white, black, or other. Black women have not been the controlling factor in American law, business, or culture.

    When Pat Buchanan goes on a tear and writes as he did last month that blacks should be grateful for slavery because it brought them Christian salvation, did you hear a peep in the media? Did any other white people not connected to Buchanan feel that they had to bear the burden of his words or was he just some nut?

    In truth, white Americans are not held to judgement in the same way that members of a minority group are (including gays). If the news reports on a crime involving someone gay, it’s used as an indictment against all gay people.

  6. nic says

    “ Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red, and He placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with His arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that He separated the races shows that He did not intend for the races to mix. ”

    that was the statement included in the ruling against the lovings by the virginia judge. thank goodness that the supreme court of the u.s. disagreed.

    the lovings were a strong inspirational couple. i am sure that mildred loving will be welcomed into the spiritual world with loving arms. what a remarkable woman! i know that she rests in peace.

  7. peterparker says

    NOAH…if I’m not mistaken, DERRICK FROM PHILLY is a black guy. I would say that entitles him to write the words he wrote about the two women of color who discriminated against gays. Besides, I didn’t see his words as all that racist…he was merely saying that after reading two stories about bigoted black women it was nice to read a story about a black woman who believed in equality for all.

  8. Christian says

    Noah – I’ve been reading all of the comments and I honestly don’t know why you are accusing Derrick From Philly of “spitting on Mildred Loving’s memory” or of an act of racism. I get the gist of your argument, but it’s a bit misguided.

    For starters, right or wrong, we still live in a society where individuals are judged by the behavior of others simply because of a common characteristic – gays, women, men, Blacks, and even Whites, among non-Whites. As a person of color, I give a sigh of relief every time a crime is committed and the perpetrator is not Black, because while Whites may not judge themselves when crimes are committed by other Whites, the rest of us aren’t necessarily exempt.

    Praising a woman (of color) whose own experience gave her insight into the fight for marriage equality – as well as a platform for speaking out against discrimination in marriage (and whom you choose to love) – in comparison to two other, bigoted women (of color) who’ve recently been in the news) doesn’t strike me as an act of racism; just pride in knowing that there are still people who look like you and come from a similar background who are okay with you being who you are.

    And, on another note, in response to your comment on the absurdity of white purity: The one-drop rule is still very much in effect in the US. The day that this wealthy, powerful nation follows the lead of other nations and ceases to “log” and record the ethnicity of its citizens, in every facet of our lives, will be a huge step towards truly indicating that “race” doesn’t not matter in the USA.

    Until then, no matter how hopeful we should all be, we still have to live in the real world.

  9. Derrick from Philly says

    NOAH,

    you quoted my comment perfectly, but the intent of my comment is obviously opposite to what I wanted–in your mind. Maybe I worded it badly or something. What I tried to say was after having homophobic behavior by women of color highlighted earlier this week on this blog, we have a story about a very courageous woman of color who is in direct contrast to what we read about in the Ohio & Memphis cases.

    Don’t you ever spew such shit at me again on this blog, NOAH! I don’t deserve it.

    “priviledged, bigoted, condescending ass.”

    You certainly gave some people on this blog something to laugh about this morning, NOAH, “one nigger telling another nigger off on TOWLEROAD.”

    And if you aren’t black, the racists on this blog have still considered you a “nigger lover” because of your courageous comments against racism. Naturally, I admired your posts against racism, so your admonition today must give the bigots something to chuckle about.

    “condescendingly racist”?

    Is comparing the behavior of Ken Hutcherson to that of Jeremiah Wright on the issue of gay people’s human rights–is that racist? If I praise Reverend Wright for being a black man who believes it is wrong to oppress gay people it’s
    because bigoted black men like Hutcherson get so much press. Is that being condescendingly racist?

    I don’t see how anyone visiting this blog, and reading this thread could have construed my comments to be disrespectful to Mrs Lovings and her sacrifice.

    You went after the wrong faggot this afternoon, NOAH? Ironic: the two nastiest comments ever made directly to me on Towleroad were by black men. That’s all right, I’ve experienced white racists and hateful black bigots(gay & straight) all my life.

    I had a few more words, but they were all full of anger and profanity; so I erased them. Aint no place for that, not on a thread about such a wonderful woman.

  10. DCMNYC says

    Derrick from Philly’s comment (if he is black) reminds me of the moments I cringe when I hear news stories about blacks involved in crime, etc. I think it’s natural for a black person to feel, to some degree, that criminal/negative behavior of other blacks reflects poorly on them. By the way I am black. I do however feel that Noah’s points still require examining and discussion for they speak to a lot of truth. Perhaps a reason for the media not being more culturally or race sensitive is because there is an enormous lack of diversity in the positions that decide what is going to make news (and money). It is very shocking that the world described by the Loving story was not so long ago. Yet sometimes statements made in the media by black’s about their personal experiences are given the treatment – “Is this statement critical of America? Is this statement critical of another group?” If so – a double standard is in full effect. It takes some cultural understanding to comprehend the context of some statements made by some especially in light of the Black experience. Our world tends to sometimes operate in a color blind dimension – an ideal but not a reality. The Loving’s brought us a lot closer to this ideal world. May they rest in peace.

  11. Jimmyboyo says

    Racism in the gay community is far more rampant than many want to admit, and too many others are more than happy to let continue.

    For me, Derrick’s comment was a Gay Black man’s attempt to highlight the work of a wonderful African American woman for those (and YES there were far too many that did) who had racist thoughts over the actions of 2 other and less rational African American women earlier.

    I also don’t think NOAH was trying to be an ass towards derrick. I think he misunderstood intent while later in his post pionting out some very valid tangents … i.e. pat robertson’s extremely ignorant schtick and the media not saying a peep… etc

    Correct me if I am wrong, but NOAH is also a Gay African American Male.

    The 2 of you have at least 3 things in common.

    Gay

    African American

    Male

    Now kiss and make peace :-)

  12. says

    A beautiful, open-hearted woman. Let’s hope she shall always be remembered.

    And still some people don’t recognize how completely the words about her own marriage in 1958 apply to thousands of gay men and lesbians who want to marry not to make a political statement but because they are, simply, in love.

    RIP.

  13. SeanR says

    Deeply saddened to hear this news, while Mrs Loving might have been uncomfortable in life about politics, she was a revolutionary! My sympathies to her family and friends, may she rest in peace.

    Boys: behave yourselves!!

  14. noah says

    Derrick,

    Please accept apologies. I did not know that you are African-American. Therefore, my comments about privilege, racism, etc. were ill-advised and stupid.

    However, I don’t care that society likes to group people together or that there have been two occasions of women of color shooting off their mouths any more than I care about the Rev. Wright. They’re individuals. If someone is racist enough to view all blacks as responsible for the words of a few, screw ’em! I don’t blame all white people when I suffer from the racist actions of one person. I blame the person and the culture that breeds their way of thinking.

    I’m sick of having to cringe because some minority has done something and I have to worry what the white or straight folks will think of me. Blech! That goes to the heart of the whole Jeremiah Wright controversy and making guilt by association the standard. Why is it that every black politician has to denounce Louis Farrakhan? I don’t see every white politician denouncing David Duke.

    Louis Farrakhan is the media created black boogeyman, a very pale skinned one who admits that his father was a Jewish man. Reality check: the majority of African-Americans are Christian. Farrakhan is a Muslim. He’s also not part of the life of the majority of African-Americans who don’t flock to his temple, to buy his books, or emulate his messages. Yet, still Farrakhan, who is an old dying man who walked off the stage years ago is trotted out as scary black man. Fear not, there’s now another pale-skinned African-American man to demonize in Rev. Wright.

    (Think about it, some white people are afraid of the Rev. White, a man who looks more white than black, as the epitome of anti-white thought. As if white doesn’t wake up and know every day that he has white ancestry.)

    The evil by genetic association game is well played in the media: Fox’s Bill O’Reilly has his daily segment on how some illegal immigrant committed a crime and therefore all immigrants (especially the brown ones) are guilty. Fox’s John Gibson can make disgusting remarks about Heath Ledger because he played a gay man in a movie and it’s okay.

    John McCain sought the endorsement of John Hagee. Is McCain being held to the fire? No, as Frank Rich pointed out in the New York Times. Pat Buchanan can make his comments and still be invited day after day to spout his filth on MSNBC. The same for Ann Coulter whose racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, and just awfulness has not diminished her presence as a pundit.

    So, no, I don’t feel the need to feel any guilt for anyone else’s actions. If someone expects me to because I might share similar genes, screw ’em. Most white people don’t associate the sins of their own as reflecting all white people. Why should a brown man, black man, or gay man do so? Doesn’t that give in to the bigoted paradigm?

    The Lovings’ fight was against the premise that there was such a thing as guilt by genetic association based on white supremacy and the Biblical myth of the Curse of Ham!

  15. Patrick NYC says

    Anyone who is a regular here knows that the last thing Derrick is bigoted. He is always open minded and thoughtful. Noah while you may ahve missunderstood his post it was sad to see that Andy’s tribute to this wonderful woman was side tracked by you, no matter how well meaning, lets just say farewell to a woman who left this earth better than she found it.

  16. Jamie Boy says

    Patrick NYC:

    All these issues are so complexed and wrong but you hit the nail on the head.

    This woman is formidable, we loose another great person.

  17. Derrick from Philly says

    NOAH,

    well written (and well thought out) as usual. The only thing I disagree (respectfully disagree, now) with you about is even if my comment was written by a white poster I don’t see how it came across as racist. The media constantly highlights black homophobia when there is so much evidence that white homophobia still dominates many parts of the country, and is far more damaging to gay people’s rights–look at the damn Bush White House, for God’s sake. Yet, anti-gay behavior from blacks gets so much attention–whether it’s black ministers to black Rap musicians… to black women school administrators in Ohio & Memphis, Tennessee. And too many white gays make no distinction between the two homophobic school administrators and sympathetic black women like Mrs Loving, Coretta Scott King, and so many others. No black FAGGOT criticizes black homophobes as harshly as I do, but I won’t have all black people painted as ignorant homophobes.

    So, I looked at this thread (on Mrs Loving’s death & her legacy) as an opportunity to say, “look here Towleroad visitors, here is a black woman that faught & sacrificed for justice, and even now, she fights for justice FOR GAY PEOPLE TOO. And again, she is a Black American.

    Noah, thanks for your 2nd comment today. I was so mad that I missed the end-of-the-semester department luncheon here at work. But that’s all right, my waistline thanks you.

    Well, we end this misunderstanding in the positive spirit of Mrs Mildred Loving….as JIMMYBOYO predicted.

    Peace, NOAH.

  18. Dave says

    After looking into this case I found out that Judge Bazile died a few months before the Supreme Court ruling. It’s too bad that he was not around to see his hateful and bigot opinion be over ruled.

    R.I.P. Mrs. Loving. A very brave woman.

  19. Zeke says

    Rest in Peace Mrs. Loving.

    You and Richard were, are and always will be heroes to the gay and lesbian community.

    Your courage and your committment to the struggle for fairness and equality, not just for yourselves but for others, should be an example to us all.

    I pay homage to your life and your legacy.

    Namaste my sister.

  20. Ted says

    41 years later we stand a real chance of having a man who was born to an inter-racial couple become our President! That means there is hope for overcoming the bigotry that prevents the recognition of gay marriage. I hope I’m around in 41 years to vote for a gay President.

    PS I’m not a lawyer. I assume Andy’s quote from the Supreme Court decision is exact, “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,” a “basic civil right.”

    Read literally, this sanctions marriage between men.

    RIP Mrs. Loving and thank you for your courage.

  21. robertmalcolm says

    While I knew about the Loving case in a very general sense I was incredibly moved by Mrs. Loving’s 2007 statement which I had never read — it gives me hope that some day we (gays and lesbians) might just have a chance for full marriage equality.

    I also find it ironic that while she so eloquently stood up for our freedom to marry there are always those who are willing to withhold our freedom to marry with statements that the Loving vs. Virginia case is in no way similar to our fight for full marriage equality. Thankfully one courageous woman knew they were so very similar.

    RIP Mrs. Loving.

  22. David says

    I read this posting every few months to remind me of the true meaning of life. Love. Thank you for leaving this up for us and the hope that I will one day enjoy this level of love. :-)

Leave A Reply