National Loving Day takes place each year on June 12th, commemorating the anniversary of the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court decision known as “Loving vs. Virginia”, that struck down all anti-miscegenation laws remaining in sixteen U.S. states that banned interracial marriage.
Mildred was 11, and Richard was 17 when they became childhood friends. Over the years they began courting and developed a strong relationship that led them to marriage in 1958. However, upon returning to their hometown just north of Richmond, they were arrested; the couple did not know their home state of Virginia recognized interracial marriage as illegal. The Lovings pleaded guilty, and to avoid jail-time they agreed to leave the state and later started legal action while residing in Washington D.C. by writing to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. Kennedy referred the case on to the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Warren Court unanimously ruled in their favor. The Lovings returned to their Virginia home, where they resided with their three children.
National Loving Day was not created until decades later, in 2004 by Ken Tanabe, who grew up in an interracial family with a Japanese father and a Belgian mother. He launched National Loving Day in hopes that the day of celebration would bring together multi-ethnic families from around the world.
The heart and intention of National Loving Day is to keep its history and importance fresh in the minds of a generation that has grown up with interracial relationships being legal, while also exploring the issues interracial relationships experience. Read “Mixed Couple Interracial Questions Not To Ask”.