Thursday, June 12, 2008

Loving Day - Some Thoughts

Today is Loving Day.

For many people including myself until a few years ago, I’d not have had a clue what this might signify (wondering if it related to “loving”). Being a White Man partnered with a Black Woman, it has become meaningful to me.

Mildred and Richard Loving were married in Washington, D.C. in 1958. They returned home to Virginia where their marriage was illegal. He was White and She Black. Six months later they were arrested and their one year prison sentence was suspended with the agreement that they would leave Virginia and not return. After Mildred Loving wrote Robert Kennedy (then Attorney General of the U.S.) and much legal effort on his part The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 12, 1967 that states could not deny the right to marriage based upon Race. This invalidated the laws of 16 states in 1967.

“On November 7, voters in Alabama erased from that state's Constitution a provision dating from 1901 that declared that "the legislature shall never pass any law to authorize or legalize any marriage between any white person and a Negro, or descendant of a Negro." (The Nation: December 7, 2000) Alabama was the last state to eliminate a (by then non-enforceable) ban on interracial marriage less than eight years ago after multiple efforts over the years.

In thinking of this, I think also of how we live insular lives, forgetting parts of history that are often omitted from the stories we hear, as well as Never Knowing that which is not deemed “relevant” to our lives. Paul Robeson, once the best known Black Man in the U.S. became “forgotten” because he was a Communist and otherwise “bad” in the minds of many. Many Black people don’t know of him (as well as most of us White Folks). Pele, the great soccer player, was unknown to most USians until relatively late in his career because soccer didn’t used to be important here. I am certainly ignorant about many icons who my step-sons know much of.

Hopefully over time we will learn more of others who have changed the lives of others in important ways! Thanks!

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