An Argument for Love

Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

In 1967, the United States Supreme Court overturned a series of prohibitions and punishments against interracial marriage with its decision in
Loving v. Virginia. Mildred Jeter, a black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man, married in Washington, D.C. in 1958. The two wed following an unplanned pregnancy and chose the District of Columbia in an effort to sidestep Virginia’s prohibitions against “mixed-race” marriages. Within months of their return to Virginia, their union had been discovered and, ultimately, deemed illegal by a grand jury in their hometown of Caroline County. The couple pled guilty to “cohabitating as man and wife against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth,” a felony that warranted one to five years in prison under Virginia law. After a plea deal that forced the Lovings to leave Virginia for a proposed twenty-five years, the couple’s mounting frustrations with their inability to visit family members back home prompted the Lovings, in 1964, to challenge their sentence all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

In oral arguments made before the Warren court, featured here, the Lovings’ attorneys outlined the unevenness and arbitrariness of anti-miscegenation laws running from 1691 to the 1930s. The lawyers also detailed the importance of the Fourteenth Amendment in preserving the meaning of citizenship in even the most intimate matters of daily life.

Latest Primary Source
  • |
    October 14, 2015 9:00 a.m.

    “The facts are that I wrote Haiti’s constitution, myself, and if I do say it, I think it’s a pretty…

  • |
    October 9, 2015 5:35 p.m.

    The 24th Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified in 1964, ensuring that the right of citizens of the…

  • |
    October 7, 2015 4:30 p.m.

    Depiction of Sumerian beer drinkers, 2600BCE, using stalks to drink from large, communal containers. Image Available At: An early…

  • |
    October 5, 2015 8:49 p.m.

    In 1933, Albert Einstein petitioned Turkish President Mustafa Kemal Ataturk to allow “forty professors and doctors from Germany” to immigrate…

Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: