ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes

   

Home   ChickenBones Store (Books, DVDs, Music, and more)

Google
 

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.

 

 

Mildred Loving of Loving vs Virginia Dies
 
By Norman Faria

 

 

Mildred Loving (1939-2008) was an American widow who died last Friday [2 May 2008] in the US state of Virginia. She was a black woman who in 1958 married the white man she loved. For this the couple was arrested, convicted, and exiled to another state. They fought the case to the Supreme Court level and won, getting their conviction squashed and leading to the removal of laws in other states banning inter-racial marriages.

It all started in the rural community of Central Point in Caroline County in the early 1950s. It was the US South and there was racism to be sure, encouraged by Jim Crow politicians and ill trained preachers. But people are human regardless of race. Teenagers Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving went to different schools and churches but their families, like many poor whites and blacks, knew each other.

Mildred and Richard fell in love. Because of the anti-miscegenation (against inter-racial sex) laws in Virginia, they had to travel 80 miles to the north to Washington, D.C. (where such unions were legal) to get married. Ironically, though Mildred was of majority black race she had Amerindian blood (that of the Rappahannock tribe, the native "Indians" who met and welcomed the first European colonists to the area in the 1600s). The couple returned to Central Point, hoping to live happily as man and wife and raise a family.

A few  days after settling back in the only home town they lived in and knew, they were awakened in their bed in the middle of the night by Sheriff R.Garnett Brooks and deputies and arrested. The couple pleaded guilty to "cohabiting as man and wife against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth." In sentencing them and displaying an appalling ignorance about geo-biological historical development, Judge Leon Bazile noted in part: "Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red and placed them on separate continents . . . the fact that he  (God) separated the races shows that he did not intend the  races to mix."

The law was the Virginia Racial Integrity Act of 1924.They received a one year sentence but this was suspended after they agreed to leave the state and stay out for the next 25 years. The Lovings went back to Washington where Richard worked in his trade as a bricklayer. Mildred, undoubtedly informed about the then civil rights campaigns to get justice and meaningful freedom for black Americans, wrote in 1964 to the then Attorney General Robert Kennedy.

Kennedy, brother of assassinated President John Kennedy, contacted the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) about it. Assisted by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the case was brought before the courts up to the Supreme Court  level. In a 1967 ruling, the highest court in the land citing the Constitution giving freedom to persons to marry  whomever they wanted, the conviction was thrown out. Equally racist laws in 17 other states were soon removed from the statute books.

The Lovings returned to Virginia where they raised their three children Donald, Peggy, and Sidney. Sadly, they were to enjoy their wonderful loving relationship for only eight more years. In 1975, a drunk driver crashed his vehicle into theirs. Richard, 41, was killed and Mildred  seriously injured. She lost her right eye and the accident brought on arthritis. Mildred never remarried and lived in the house Richard built until she passed away last Friday. Though the Lovings' example helped bring about the removal of racist, undemocratic and cruel legislation and led to more inter-racial unions, Mildred never saw herself as a heroine. She rarely gave press interviews. She once said: "It wasn't my doing —it was God's work."

Today, things have changed somewhat. There are very few communities in the US and Canada where one doesn’t see inter-racial couples and their children. The mixing is still however low—only 7 per cent of the million  marriages existing last year were inter-racial. The majority are probably black men marrying white women. Inter-racal unions are likely higher, in relative terms, in countries such as Guyana and Trinidad where there are higher proportions of the two main racial groups (Indos and Afros).

Attitudes are changing in the South said the Lovings' daughter Peggy in an interview with the New York Times  newspaper (12 June 1992). But there were still some die-hard reactionaries (at the time of interview).  Sheriff Brooks, also interviewed, said he still agreed  with the anti-miscegenation law he helped enforce. "I would have thought something about it. But with the calibre of those people (Mildred and Richard), it didn't  matter. They were both low class."

Last year, on the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court's ruling, Mildred gave a brief statement . Part of it is found on a Wikipedia website "Loving vs Virginia" and for which I am indebted for some of the information in this article. She said she had lived long enough "to see big changes." She continued in part:  "Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don't think of Richard and our love, our right to marry and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the 'wrong kind of person' for me to marry."

"I'm still not a political person," she went on, "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." Mildred, who was 68, had been recently hospitalised for pneumonia. Let us remember Mildred and Richard Loving  and may they rest in peace.

(Norman Faria is Guyana's Honorary Consul in Barbados)

*   *   *   *   *

Mildred Loving, matriarch of interracial marriage, diesMildred Jeter was 11 when she and 17-year-old Richard began courting, according to Phyl Newbeck, a Vermont author who detailed the case in the 2004 book, "Virginia Hasn't Always Been for Lovers." She became pregnant a few years later, she and Loving got married in Washington in 1958, when she was 18. Mildred told the AP she didn't realize it was illegal."I think my husband knew," Mildred said. "I think he thought (if) we were married, they couldn't bother us." Yahoo

*   *   *   *   * 

Mildred Loving, Who Battled Ban On Mixed-Race Marriage, Dies at 68In his classic study of segregation, An American Dilemma, Gunnar Myrdal wrote that “the whole system of segregation and discrimination is designed to prevent eventual inbreeding of the races.” But miscegenation laws struck deeper than other segregation acts, and the theory behind them leads to chaos in other facets of law. This is because they make any affected marriage void from its inception. Thus, all children are illegitimate; spouses have no inheritance rights; and heirs cannot receive death benefits. “When any society says that I cannot marry a certain person, that society has cut off a segment of my freedom,” the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said in 1958. Virginia’s law had been on the books since 1662, adopted a year after Maryland enacted the first such statute. At one time or another, 38 states had miscegenation laws. State and federal courts consistently upheld the prohibitions, until 1948, when the California Supreme Court overturned California’s law. Though the Supreme Court’s 1967 decision in the Loving case struck down miscegenation laws, Southern states were sometimes slow to change their constitutions; Alabama became the last state to do so, in 2000. NYTimes

*   *   *   *   * 

*   *   *   *   * 

CSPAN Supreme Court Series Race and Marriage—Andrew Cohen—3 December 2010—On June 12, 1967, the Supreme Court unanimously sided with the Lovings, dispatching to the dustbin all of the nation's anti-miscegenation laws.

Chief Justice Earl Warren, on behalf of the court, wrote:

There is patently no legitimate overriding purpose independent of invidious racial discrimination which justifies this classification. The fact that Virginia prohibits only interracial marriages involving white persons demonstrates that the racial classifications must stand on their own justification, as measures designed to maintain White Supremacy. We have consistently denied the constitutionality of measures which restrict the rights of citizens on account of race. There can be no doubt that restricting the freedom to marry solely because of racial classifications violates the central meaning of the Equal Protection Clause.

He continued:

To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteen Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteen Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual, and cannot be infringed by the State.

Loving v. Virginia was never a close call. It took the justices only two months to fashion their unanimous opinion, which was as brief as it was pointed. The "convictions must be reversed," the court commanded. But the oral argument from April 10, 1967, nevertheless feels like a hinge of historynever again would lawyers from a state come to the Supreme Court and make such overtly racial arguments.

When you listen to the voices of the lawyers, and the questions of the justices, you cannot help but marvel at how relatively recent this case was.NetworkBlogs

posted 6 May 2008 

*   *   *   *   * 

Books on Interracial Intimacy

Tell the Court I Love My Wife: Race, Marriage, and Law—An American History (Peter Wallenstein)

Interracialism : Black-White Intermarriage in American History, Literature, and Law (Werner Sollors)

Interracial Intimacy: The Regulation of Race and Romance (Rachel F. Moran)

Race Mixing: Black-White Marriage in Postwar America (Renee C. Romano)

*   *   *   *   *

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

By Rebecca Skloot

 

Faith, Cancer, Death, Racism, Science, and Ethics

A Research Sampling by Rudolph Lewis

*   *   *   *   *

 

Anarcha's Story

By Alexandria C. Lynch, MS III

Quickly, he forces her to spread her legs so that he can exam her damaged

vagina. She is unable to say anything as he pokes and prods in her most

private areas. She lies there in that backyard hospital and waits while

he completes his initial examination.

*   *   *   *   *

The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets

By Barbara G. Walker

This fascinating, scholarly hodgepodge spotlights the feminist underpinnings of myth, religion, and culture. Before being lionized as zaftig Norse angels who guided strong warriors to Valhalla, Valkyries may have offered rebirth through cannibalization. "Little Red Riding Hood" was based on Diana, goddess of the hunt. Marriage was once considered a sin, not a sacred union: St. Bernard once proclaimed "it was easier for a man to bring the dead back to life than to live with a woman without endangering his soul." A few of the other topics expounded upon are the Milky Way, Cinderella, the moon, and males giving birth. While some of the references put a cranky feminist spin on words that might in context have different meaningSt. Paul's oft-quoted "better to marry than to burn," for example—much in this vast tome will dazzle dabblers and intellectuals alike.—Amazon.com Review

Endgame AIDS in Black America

HIV Continues Its Grim Toll on Blacks in the U.S.—‘Endgame: AIDS in Black America’ on PBS—9 July 2012—Today in America, 152 people will become infected with H.I.V.,” a speaker is telling a World AIDS Day gathering as the program opens. “Half of them will be black. Today in America, two-thirds of the new H.I.V. cases among women will be black. Today in America, 70 percent of the new H.I.V. cases among youth will be black.”

From there the program, directed by Renata Simone, embarks on a history lesson, tracing how AIDS was almost immediately typecast as a disease of gay white men, even though some of the earliest cases were in black men. That led to an indifference among blacks at the start of the epidemic, and soon along came the drug nightmare of the 1990s, with sex being traded for a fix, rampant needle sharing and resistance to needle-exchange programs that sought to do something about the problem. Endemic poverty in black America of course exacerbated everything about the AIDS crisis.

Black leaders acknowledge that they failed to take the kind of vocal role in the early years that they had been known for in civil rights battles and other struggles. “I didn’t do what I could have done and should have done,” Julian Bond, the civil rights activist and a former chairman of the N.A.A.C.P., says bluntly.—nytimes

*   *   *   *   *

AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

Fiction

#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter

Non-fiction

#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

*   *   *   *   *

Shadowboxing

Representations of Black Feminist Politics

By Joy James

James rejects the liberalism of conventional black feminism for a radical agenda, which, in the tradition of black feminists Ella Baker and Ida B. Wells, targets capitalism and the state as perpetuators of race, class, and gender oppression. Their legacy of radicalism and activism is juxtaposed to the black feminist praxis and thought of Angela Davis, Assata Shakur, and Elaine Brown. This book successfully demonstrates that black feminism is authentically rooted in the black community. Especially enlightening is James's discussion on "distinctions between black men championing black females as patriarchal protectors and black men championing feminism to challenge sexism." An interdisciplinary and well-analyzed representation of radical black women fighting for rights and visibility. Recommended for women's studies, African American studies, or political collections.—Library Journal

*   *   *   *   *

Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation

on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present

By Harriet A. Washington

 

Medical Apartheid is the first and only comprehensive history of medical experimentation on African Americans. Starting with the earliest encounters between black Americans and Western medical researchers and the racist pseudoscience that resulted, it details the ways both slaves and freedmen were used in hospitals for experiments conducted without their knowledge—a tradition that continues today within some black populations. It reveals how blacks have historically been prey to grave-robbing as well as unauthorized autopsies and dissections. . . . The product of years of prodigious research into medical journals and experimental reports long undisturbed, Medical Apartheid reveals the hidden underbelly of scientific research and makes possible, for the first time, an understanding of the roots of the African American health deficit.—Random House / Kam Williams review

 

*   *   *   *   *

Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake.

She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.WashingtonPost

*   *   *   *   *

Greenback Planet: How the Dollar Conquered

the World and Threatened Civilization as We Know It

By H. W. Brands

In Greenback Planet, acclaimed historian H. W. Brands charts the dollar's astonishing rise to become the world's principal currency. Telling the story with the verve of a novelist, he recounts key episodes in U.S. monetary history, from the Civil War debate over fiat money (greenbacks) to the recent worldwide financial crisis. Brands explores the dollar's changing relations to gold and silver and to other currencies and cogently explains how America's economic might made the dollar the fundamental standard of value in world finance. He vividly describes the 1869 Black Friday attempt to corner the gold market, banker J. P. Morgan's bailout of the U.S. treasury, the creation of the Federal Reserve, and President Franklin Roosevelt's handling of the bank panic of 1933. Brands shows how lessons learned (and not learned) in the Great Depression have influenced subsequent U.S. monetary policy, and how the dollar's dominance helped transform economies in countries ranging from Germany and Japan after World War II to Russia and China today.  The Economy

*   *   *   *   *

Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. Lisa Adkins, University of London

*   *   *   *   *

The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

*   *   *   *   *

Ancient African Nations

*   *   *   *   *

If you like this page consider making a donation

online through PayPal

*   *   *   *   *

Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues


1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        

Enjoy!

*   *   *   *   *

The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

*   *   *   *   *

The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

*   *   *   *   *

*   *   *   *   *

ChickenBones Store (Books, DVDs, Music, and more)

 

 

 

 

 

update 9 May 2012

 

 

 

Home    Civil Rights: Struggle for Black Power   Tributes Obituaries Remembrances 

Related files: Anarcha's Story   J Marion Sims   Medical Apartheid    Fighting the Sickle Cell Anemia Stigma    The Immortal Henrietta Lacks

 Mildred Loving  RAPE: A Radical Analysis    Revolutionary Black Music: Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln