A History Lesson

Harvard law professor Randall Kennedy a few years back offered an interesting history lesson, the story of the intriguing case of Loving v. Virginia. Richard Loving (great name, huh?) had married Mildred Jeter in the District of Columbia, but when they moved to Virginia, they were charged with a crime.


Richard was white. Mildred was black.

God, the judge lectured them, had most surely intended the races remain separate, as evidence by the fact that He had plopped them down to begin with on separate continents.

One is tempted to laugh at the judge. The sentiments he voiced, however, decisively shaped peoples lives and were by no means idiosyncratic. A Gallup Poll indicated in 1965 that 42 percent of Northern whites supported bans on inter-racial marriage, as did 72 percent of southern whites.

This happened in 1967. At the time, 16 states had laws prohibiting inter-racial marriage.