Mixed race pair’s ‘Loving Story’ on film

7/11/2014, 6 a.m.
Richard and Mildred Loving were arrested for violating Virginia’s ban on mixed marriages.

The 2011 documentary “The Loving Story,” which explores mixed marriages and civil rights in the 1950s and 1960s, will be screened on July 16 at the Scott Candler Library in Decatur.

The 2-to-3:30 p.m. screening is part of the Created Equal series developed to encourage community discussion about the civil rights era in U.S. history and the changing meaning of freedom and equality in America.

In 1958, Richard Loving, who was white, and Mildred Jeter, who was black, traveled from their home in Virginia to Washington, D.C., to get married. After their wedding, they returned to Virginia where they were arrested for violating a state law that banned marriage between people of different races. Twenty-four states had laws banning mixed marriages.

A judge accepted their guilty plea and sentenced them to a year in jail but suspended the sentence if the two left Virginia for 25 years. The Lovings challenged the case all the way to the Supreme Court. A unanimous court eventually ruled for them in 1967 by finding that the Virginia law violated the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution. The documentary, directed by Nancy Buirski, tells their story during those nine years.

Richard Loving died in a car crash in 1975 and Mildred Loving died in 2008. They had three children.

Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle is made possible through a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Scott Candler Library is at 1917 Candler Road.