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http://ilovemylifebrothersandsisters.blogspot.com/

 

Mildred Jeter was of African American and Native American descent, and Richard Loving was a white man. They fell in love and eventually married in Washington D. C. in June 1958.

 

Married in Washington, D C

Capital of this land so free

They returned to their home state

Where a vicious law lay in wait

The Sheriff broke into their house

And charged them as each other’s  spouse

He would not listen to their cries

And enforced a law based on lies.

They were taken away to jail

Their claims of ignorance were of no avail

The sentence pronounced met their fears

It imposed jail time of five long years.

They were told to divorce and live in sin

As though their love had never been

They refused and moved away

Apart from family and friends they were forced to stay

Then, they tried a last resort

And appealed their sentence to the court

Nine years after their marriage began

It was upheld by the highest court in the land.

Let us affirm as one and all that no sane state

Has the right to pass laws enacting hate.

Richard and Mildred deserve their due

For holding fast to a love  so true.

Let us learn what their fight taught

Let those who love marry as they ought.

On June 12, 2007, Mildred Loving issued a statement on the 40th anniversary of the Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court decision.

“My generation was bitterly divided over something that should have been so clear and right. The majority believed that what the judge said, that it was God’s plan to keep people apart, and that government should discriminate against people in love. But I have lived long enough now to see big changes. The older generation’s fears and prejudices have given way, and today’s young people realize that if someone loves someone, they have a right to marry.

Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the ‘wrong kind of person’ for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially when this denies people’s civil rights.

I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight, seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.”

Richard Loving was killed by a drunk driver in 1975; Mildred Loving died of pneumonia in 2008.  May they rest in peace.

© 2012, Larry Conley. All rights reserved.

Larry Conley (36 Posts)

I am a veteran of the U. S. Army. My good fortune is to be married to a wonderful woman and have two remarkable twin sons who are making their way in the world. I taught civics in a Pittsburgh area middle school. I am a cat and dog lover.


12 Comments

  1. And may they rest in peace together as they were meant to be. I remember this very well. I was living in DC at the time of the court case and had just begun to date an African American man, my son’s father. Believe me, things are a lot better now than they were then! God bless them for fighting for freedom for the rest of us! Love your poem and your post, Larry!

    • Larry Conley (Author)

      Melody,

      Wow I had no idea this would have such personal relevance to you.

      Mildred and Richard were two unassuming people who apparently believed love would conquer all and they turned out to be right!

      Good for them and good for us. I had to honor their courage and their love in the face of true injustice. It is horrible to be denied the right to vote, but how much more horrible is it to be denied the right to consummate and formalize one’s love?

      BTW: Alabama did not repeal its hateful law until the year 2000.

      That is one example why I assert
      “Let us affirm as one and all that no sane state

      Has the right to pass laws enacting hate.”

      That’s what these laws others pushed under the camouflage of “states’ rights” are all about; they are based on hate.

      As ever,

      Larry

  2. I just learned about this story recently when I saw a preview for the documentary: The Loving Story. http://lovingfilm.com/ but I forgot about it until I read your lovely poem. Must go in search of the film now. Thanks, Larry.

    • Larry Conley (Author)

      Katy,

      Thank you for these kind words and I am glad I reminded you of the documentary. I have seen it and believe it is well done.

      These two people were unassuming, but truly courageous. Their struggle is so relevant to one of the many lunacies rampaging today.

      Thanks again,

      Larry

  3. Beautiful and soul wrenching. I remember this case too. It hurts my heart how ignorance can cause so much cruelty. But, isn’t it beautiful how LOVE eventually prevails? Glorious tribute to love and libation for his couple’s testimony.
    I’m in tears Larry. This is so moving, your perfect poem and then Mildred’s words..Wow. A magnificent float.

    “Richard and Mildred deserve their due
    For holding fast to a love so true.
    Let us learn what their fight taught
    Let those who love marry as they ought.”

    VICTORIOUS!!! (awesome title btw)

    • Larry Conley (Author)

      Mantra,

      This as everything you say means a ton to me.

      I just had to write something to honor their courage, their devotion to one another, and their victory.

      I am glad it moved you and so grateful for your kind words.

      As ever,

      Larry

    • Larry Conley (Author)

      Dean,

      Thanks for sharing one more among the many reasons to be grateful to Mildred and Richard.

      Two unassuming people who fought for love and won! Their victory was not only for themselves as you well know.

      Thanks again,

      Larry

  4. Wonderful poem and post, Larry. It shows that sometimes love suffers, but in the end—even if it means in the afterlife, it prevails. This is such a heartbreaking story. Thank you for bringing this and raising awareness that we may be only two steps from going back to those dreadful days.

  5. Larry Conley (Author)

    Cher,

    My heart was touched by these two. They were not flamboyant in anything except their love and their courage.

    You are right. The winds of hate are howling more than they have in decades.

    When will we ever learn; when will we ever learn?

    As ever,

    Larry

  6. Larry Conley (Author)

    Only 40 percent of Mississippi GOP voters believe interracial marriage should be legal!

    A whopping 46 percent of likely GOP primary voters said they think interracial marriage should be illegal, while only 40 percent said they think it should be allowed. Another 14 percent said they were unsure.

    http://www.aolnews.com/2011/04/08/46-percent-of-mississippi-republicans-want-interracial-marriage/

    What country are these people living in or should I ask “what century”?

  7. Risha

    Thanks, Larry, for the wonderful poem. Those GOP stats are pretty sad. I wanted to share this lovely video w/ you all. It’s called “One Prayer” by Karl Anthony:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQeeZDkMCUQ

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