By Gabriel Rich
This month marks the 50th anniversary of the landmark Loving v. Virginia decision that shot down laws prohibiting interracial marriage. The decision set a precedent in that it overturned miscegenation laws that both Mildred and Richard Loving were accused of violating.
Mildred, a Negro woman, and Richard, a white man, were both arrested and brought up on felony miscegenation charges, including the Racial Integrity Act of 1924, in 1958 after Mildred became pregnant. Even though the couple had a marriage license, their union was not recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia. This set off a chain of events that had the Lovings not only battling for their right to marry, but their freedom as well.
The courage of Mildred and Richard Loving cannot be denied. They took their fight to the highest court in the land, and won. The Supreme Court’s unanimous decision to overturn the Virginia Commonwealth’s decision struck a mighty blow against racism and the system of white supremacy. It put anti-miscegenation laws on notice and ultimately rendered them unenforceable.
50 years later, not all that much has changed since the Loving’s battle for a legal interracial marriage. Black and white people can legally marry, and these days it’s not as frowned upon as it was, say, 20 years ago. But the construct of white supremacy still exist, which means we live in an integrated but still an unequal society. Of course a person should have to right to choose their mate, regardless of color. But don’t get it twisted. Interracial coupling doesn’t mean overall racial bliss and harmony. We still have a long way to go in terms of races having a better relationship. I can’t say that racial unity and harmony are achievable, but we’re not even close to it being a reality.
As one that subscribes to an Indigenous Negro American history and way of life, historically, interracial relationships have proven to benefit white people far more than black folks. A peak into history shows both sides. While you had a lot of white people that married Negroes strictly for financial gain, there was also a good number that married because they fell in love with the opposite race. The problem is we’ve been given a singular narrative on the subject. We should take it upon ourselves to break down each situation to gain a real understanding, historically speaking.
Will there ever be a racial utopia in America? It’s still up in the air, but the Loving victory goes a long way in leading us in that direction. One must be mindful, however, that the belief that love sees no color is a myth. Love indeed does see color. The difference is one chooses to love after the fact. That’s real love. And while I don’t know the Lovings story enough to know if that was indeed the case with them, I do know they sure played the part.
Much respect to Mildred and Richard Loving for standing up for what they believed in.
In the entertainment world, Gabriel has been on the cutting edge as a voice for indie soul music for over a decade, writing for such publications as Soul Tracks, Independent Weekly,, and , (Sweden) where he served as the senior music writer from 2008 to 2013. He also is the senior music writer for Tribes Magazine. The creator of Starchild 7 Public Relations, Gabriel has worked with an impressive list of actors, book authors and independent music artists. Some of Starchild 7 PR’s clients include: actor Derrick Simmons (The Wire, Paid in Full), novelist L.A. Banks (the Vampire Huntress series), and music artists such as YahZarah, Xavier, (Blackball Universe) Stacye Branche, Edwin Lugo, Kelli Sae, Rhonda Thomas and Purpose Records. Gabriel is the host of “The Rich Report” on Blogtalk Radio.
Thanks so much Gabe! This was very insightful. Join us at 1:00 as we welcome Nadine Tomlinson!