Aftermath of the Supreme Court Ruling

Although Central Point was not openly hateful to the Loving’s marriage and many residents simply did not care, there was still acts of violence displayed towards the Loving’s. When the Loving’s were living nearby Central Point waiting for the Loving’s case to be over in the courts, a cross was burned in Mildred’s mothers lawn. Mildred know the cross was meant towards Mildred. When the couples returned to Central Point after the Supreme Court’s ruling, another cross was burned on the couples lawn. Besides these two acts of hatred, the Loving’s were able to live happily in Central Point and were regarded warmly by their neighbors. Unfortunately, tragedy still struck the Loving’s after all they had gone through.1 On June 29, 1975, the Loving’s took a trip to Bowling Green with Mildred’s sister and had a grand time. They headed home around midnight when a drunk driver ran a stop sign and hit the Loving’s car head on. Richard was demolished by the steering wheel and Mildred knocked her head on the windshield. Richard died on impact and Mildred lost her right eye.2 Richard died after eight years of the Supreme Court ruling and less than a month after the Loving’s fourteenth marriage anniversary.3 Floyd Goldman was the man who killed Richard and was charged in court with drunk driving and manslaughter. Bernie Cohen reassumed his position as Mildred’s lawyer and filed a wrongful death suit and settled in 1976 with a small sum of money. This money was not enough for the income Richard brought into the family and his presence in his family as a loving father and husband.4 Richard was buried at a local Baptist church in a primarily black graveyard. Mildred’s grandchildren handled the funeral and had a traditional Rappahan-nock funeral for Richard5.

Mildred Loving was still shy and did not want any public attention regarding the Loving’s case as told by her neighbor. Mildred would give interviews every now and then, but was more uncomfortable with it as the years passed. She did take place in an interview for the Mr. and Mrs. Loving’s movie, but only once Cohen convinced her too. Mildred’s did one of her last interviews in 1992 about Richard Loving and her love for him . Mildred spent most of her time in her hometown Central Point in the home Richard built for her.6 Mildred stayed a widow. Mildred said to her neighbor that she “married the only man I had ever loved and I am happy for the time we had together… many of my memories are tied to the month of June.”7 Mildred’s three children found love and married according to birth order it seemed. They gave Mildred beautiful grandchildren, but Mildred was closest to her grandchild Mark Loving who grew up with his grandmother. Mildred Loving died on May 2, 2008, a month away from the Loving’s 50th anniversary.8

The Loving’s court case also allowed same sex couples to seek the same rights to getting married legally. They began seeking marriage license and endless court cases began for the struggle for same sex marriage rights.9 The Loving v. Virginia court case played a vital role in Obergefell v. Hodges and many of the same arguments from the Loving’s case was used in Obergefell. Same sex couples won their right to a legal marriage in 2015.10

Loving v. Virginia changed anti miscegenation laws and gave black and white citizens the right to marry legally without repercussions. The Loving’s never set out to change history or be pioneers. They were simply just two people in love who wanted to live in their hometown Central Point, Virginia.11

  1. Phyl Newbeck, Virginia Hasn’t Always Been for Lovers: Interracial Marriage Bans and the Case of Richard and Mildred Loving ( Illinois: Southern Illinois University, 2008), 215 ↩︎
  2. Wallenstein, Race, Sex, and the Freedom to Marry, 152-153 ↩︎
  3. Newbeck, Virginia Hasn’t Always Been for Lovers, 215 ↩︎
  4. Wallenstein, Race, Sex, and the Freedom to Marry, 153 ↩︎
  5. Newbeck, Virginia Hasn’t Always Been for Lovers, 215 ↩︎
  6. Newbeck, Virginia Hasn’t Always Been for Lovers, 215-217 ↩︎
  7. Wallenstein, Race, Sex, and the Freedom to Marry, 154 ↩︎
  8. Wallenstein, Race, Sex, and the Freedom to Marry, 157-217 ↩︎
  9. Wallenstein, Race, Sex, and the Freedom to Marry, 176 ↩︎
  10. Grace Sullivan, “The Legacy of Loving and the Future of Same Sex Marriage.” October 22, 2020. ↩︎
  11. Newbeck, Virginia Hasn’t Always Been for Lovers,1-10 ↩︎