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WGBH “Loving Day” Series explore interracial marriage
WGBH News, Schuster Institute Explore Interracial Marriage Through Commemorative “Loving Day” Series
The series, in partnership with the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, marks the 50th anniversary of “Loving Day”
BOSTON, June 13, 2017 — WGBH News, in collaboration with the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, has launched “Loving Day,” a commemoration series on interracial marriage airing on 89.7 WGBH June 12-14.
Fifty years after the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 12, 1967 landmark civil rights decision in Loving v. Virginia legally allowed interracial marriage, the effects of the case continue to reverberate.
Mildred Jeter Loving, a woman whose disputed racial heritage has been called both African American and Native American, and Richard Perry Loving, a whiteman, had been legally married in Washington, D.C. in 1958. But two weeks later, after they had returned to Virginia, they were arrested on charges of violating the state’s 1924 Racial Integrity Act and sentenced to one year in prison. The Lovings challenged their conviction and lost in state court.
Instead of giving up, they moved to Washington, D.C., and took their case all the way to the highest court in the land. And in 1967, they won.
The Supreme Court's groundbreaking civil rights decision in Loving v. Virginia invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage in the U.S. At the time of the decision, 16 other states banned marriage between people of different races. Such anti-miscegenation laws date back to 1664, when Maryland, still a colony, was the first to adopt this kind of law.
The June 12 anniversary is known as Loving Day.
The three-part radio series, “Loving Day,” reports on interracial marriage over the past 50 years, and real-life repercussions as experienced by individuals, couples and families today. How have they dealt with continuing discrimination aimed at them? How have children with interracial parents approached their search for racial identity? And why is one the Lovings’ descendants protesting a new commemorative monument in Richmond?
“This anniversary is an ideal time to revisit the Loving decision and examine the evolution of interracial marriage over the past several decades, as we do on our website,” said Florence Graves, founding director of the Schuster Institute. “As with previous stories from the Institute's Race & Justice reporting project, Sally's work illuminates a complex aspect of race that continues to affect Americans today.”
The stories were produced by reporter Sally Jacobs and producer Josh Swartz and edited by executive editor and producer Aaron Schachter and senior editor Ken Cooper.
“This landmark decision is just as relevant today as it was 50 years ago, and there are important stories to be told by those most greatly affected by it,” said Schachter. “Sally did extensive, thorough reporting for this series, including visiting the Lovings’ hometown and speaking with sources who have never spoken to the media.”
Related resources, including a timeline of state anti-miscegenation laws and important case law, an excerpt from Sheryll Cashin’s recently released book, Loving: Interracial Intimacy in America and the Threat to White Supremacy, and links to maps, relevant websites and other resources to spark learning and discussion can be found on WGBH News’ and the Schuster Institute’s websites.
Sally Jacobs’ profile of Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni, who is featured in the series along with her parents, an interracial couple, was published in the Boston Globe on Monday. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, Cox DiGiovanni will perform her one-woman, multimedia solo drama called “One Drop of Love” in Cambridge, Mass., today.