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In Memory of ACLU Client Mildred Loving

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May 6, 2008

On May 2, 2008, Mildred Loving passed away in her home in Milford, Virginia. Loving was the petitioner in a landmark 1967 Supreme Court case, Loving v. Virginia; the decision struck down the state of Virginia’s ban on interracial marriages. Loving, an African-American woman, brought the case because she wanted to live with her white husband, Richard, and raise their children in Virginia.

Following the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Mildred wrote Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, asking him if the new law would allow them to live together in Virginia. Kennedy forwarded the letter to the ACLU’s National Capitol Area office. ACLU volunteer attorneys and Philip Hirschkop and Bernard Cohen represented the Lovings in appeals to both district and appellate courts. Losing both appeals, they took the case to the Supreme Court. Hirschkop talks about the case, and about Mildred Loving, in a podcast.

Richard Loving died in a car accident in 1975. Mildred Loving rarely gave interviews about her case, but in 2005, The Advocate republished an article (PDF) Loving wrote for the The Michigan Citizen advocating marriage rights for gays and lesbians. And on the 40th anniversary of the Loving v. Virginia decision, she issued a statement on the same topic.

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