prevailed in Supreme Court case
Died: May 2, 2008
Best Known as: black woman whose marriage to a white man led to a landmark Supreme Court ruling
Deathplace: Central Point, Virginia
In 1958, Mildred Jeter, a black woman, married a white man, Richard Loving. The marriage was performed in Washington D.C., but after the ceremony the Lovings returned to their home in Virginia, one of 16 states that still barred interracial marriages. Five weeks after their marriage, Richard and Mildred Loving were arrested in the middle of the night and thrown in jail. They were found guilty of violating a marriage law banning interracial marriage that had existed in Virginia since 1662. The Lovings could not return to Virginia together for 25 years. In 1963, inspired by the Civil Rights movement, Mildred Loving, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, appealed her case to the United States Supreme Court. In 1967, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the last segregation law left, which banned interracial marriage, was unconstitutional.