A current exhibit at the ICP (International Center of Photography) is a collection of exquisite photographs taken at the home of Mildred and Richard Loving by Grey Villet. The photographs add a personal, intimate glimpse into the lives of the married couple who successfully defeated Virginia’s state laws forbidding interracial marriage in the 1950’s. After nearly a decade of lawsuits and arrests, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Lovings and held that state laws forbidding interracial marriage were unconstitutional.
In a unanimous decision by the court, the Chief Justice writes:
Marriage is one of the basic civil rights of man, fundamental to our very existence and survival. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.
Fitting that their last name is … “Loving”!
BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.
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To see some of the photographs and read more about the exhibit: http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/18/the-heart-of-the-matter-love/ and http://www.icp.org/museum/exhibitions/loving-story-photographs-grey-villet. The case is Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1(1967) available at: http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/388/1/case.html