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5 Quotes Reacting to Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court Decision

By    |   Friday, 24 Jul 2015 07:30 PM

When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down bans on interracial marriage in 1967, reaction to the 9-0 ruling in Loving v. Virginia was not as emotional or explosive as the public response to other civil rights milestones such as school desegregation, historians and legal scholars said.

Here is a sampling of reactions to the high court's decision in Loving v. Virginia.

1. Civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called the Loving decision "a real attack on racism" in an interview with Jet magazine, but also downplayed its impact by observing, "In states where you have had that right all along there hasn't been a large number of intermarriages." The quote was cited by University of Pennsylvania law, sociology and civil rights professor Dorothy E. Roberts in a 2015 study of Loving v. Virginia.

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2. "Unlike their counterparts in Brown v. Board of Education, opponents of Loving were unable to mount anything like a 'massive resistance,' " Harvard Law professor Randall Kennedy wrote in "Interracial Intimacies: Sex, Marriage, Identity and Adoption" (2003).

Kennedy added, "White anti-miscegenationists did not riot, or promulgate congressional manifestos condemning the Supreme Court, or close down marriage bureaus to prevent the desegregation of matrimony."

3. The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk, Va., considered a white establishment newspaper at the time, bade an unsentimental farewell to the laws overturned by Loving with an editorial declaring "that the topic of interracial marriage had now 'been removed, as it had to be, from the field of jurisprudence,'" Virginia Tech history professor Peter Wallenstein wrote in "Tell the Court I Love My Wife" (2002).

4. Wallenstein's book also cited Norfolk's leading black newspaper of the time, the Journal and Guide, which hailed the plaintiffs, Richard and Mildred Loving: "Had they been less persevering, the legal battle to end Virginia's oppression on the marital front might have been forfeited long ago."

5. Forty years after the court's decision, Mildred Loving released a statement, according to The Guardian, saying, "I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard's and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That's what Loving, and loving, are all about."

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When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down bans on interracial marriage in 1967, reaction to the 9-0 ruling in Loving v. Virginia was not as emotional or explosive as the public response to other civil rights milestones such as school desegregation, historians said.
Loving, Virginia, quotes
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2015-30-24
Friday, 24 Jul 2015 07:30 PM
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