The Loving Story
Forty-five years ago, sixteen states still prohibited interracial marriage. Then, in 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court considered the case of Richard Perry Loving, a white man, and his wife, Mildred Loving, a woman of African American and Native American descent, who had been arrested for miscegenation nine years earlier in Virginia. The Lovings were not active in the Civil Rights movement but their tenacious legal battle to justify their marriage changed history when the Supreme Court unanimously declared Virginia's anti-miscegenation law—and all race-based marriage bans—unconstitutional. Photographer Grey Villet, on assignment for Life magazine, traveled to Caroline County, Virginia, in 1965 to document the Lovings' story. His intimate photographs do not focus on the couple's epic legal battle but instead show the everyday pleasures of two shy and nonpolitical people, their quiet dedication to each other and to their family. The exhibition, organized by Assistant Curator of Collections Erin Barnett, includes some twenty vintage prints loaned by the estate of Grey Villet and by the Loving family.