Three Links to Remember Richard and Mildred Loving

Richard and Mildred Loving (AP photo)

As many of you know, yesterday, June 12, 2012 was the 45th Anniversary of the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision, Loving v. Virginia, declaring Virginia’s anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional and ending all race-based legal restrictions on marriage in the United States.

I set out this morning to write a post on anti-miscegenation directed towards Filipino Americans, but after doing a little more research, many folks have already written some great stuff. So abandoning my own need to insert anything original, here are three posts that I would encourage you to read in honor of the many couple, known and unknown, who have sought to live in marriage despite laws and attitudes that fought against them.

Here is a great post by Steven Riley, 1661: The First ‘Mixed-Race’ Milestone where we learn a little about the impact of slavery on early anti-miscegenation laws.

During the early part of the transatlantic slave trade, the ratio of black women to white women in the colonies was estimated to be 9-to-1. Thus is not surprising that interracial relationships, if not condoned, were tolerated.  However, as the slave trade continued, the increasing number of offspring from the unions between white men and black women—and free black men and white women to a much smaller extent—created a social and moral conundrum for those who wished to enforce the boundaries between “superior” whites and “inferior” black slaves. [Read on…]

From Lil Sexy’s Rants and Raves, Filipino Americans and Anti-Miscegenation Laws, we are given a few great insights into the Filipino American experience.

Whether it is dating or marrying someone of a different race, interracial relationships are not a new phenomenon among Asian Americans. When Filipinos arrived en masse to the United States during the 1920s and 1930s, a major gender imbalance existed, at 14 Pinoys to 1 Pinay. This made marriage and family development difficult, if not impossible, for many Filipinos. A few of them eventually married women in the U.S. who were not Filipino. However, many people soon saw Asian intermarriage with Whites as a threat to American society. One action to stop this threat took place on January 26, 1930, when a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled that Filipino/White marriages performed since 1921 were invalid. [Read on…]

And finally from Lolita Buckner Inniss, Ain’t I a Feminist Legal Scholar Too? In Loving as Loving Does, we get a great post that looks at connections between the Loving v. Virginia decision and same-sex marriage.

Many people celebrate June 12 as Loving Day, the day when racial barriers to marriage equality were toppled and when African Americans came a giant step closer to achieving full civil rights. Today is perhaps a particularly poignant celebration as we debate the status of same-sex marriage by recalling that less than fifty years ago whites and blacks (and people of some other racial backgrounds) could not marry in almost one-third of U.S. states. For decades, there has been a political and legal debate about the meaning of Loving and its implications for the status and rights of same-sex couples in our society. Some have argued that Loving, while useful to the same-sex marriage debate, is not a matter of simply or impulsively matching familiar figures in a test of legal reflection. Maybe not,  maybe so.

As I read these post and others who are doing some good thinking about issues of race in the United States, I do so not to be held back by where we have been, but to allow our past struggles and victories to keep us moving forward.  It is with this posture that I hope you are able to take some time to read what these folks have to offer.

Browse Our Archives