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Finding a Way Home: Mildred and Richard Loving and the Fight for Marriage Equality

By: Larry Dane Brimner

When Mildred and Richard Loving are arrested, jailed, and exiled from their home simply because of their mixed-race marriage, they must challenge the courts and the country in order to secure their civil rights.

Richard Perry Loving and Mildred Jeter Loving wanted to live out their married life near family in Virginia. However, the state refused to let them—because Richard was white and Mildred was black. After being arrested and charged with a crime, the Lovings were forced to leave their home—until they turned to the legal system. In one of the country’s most prominent legal battles, Loving v. Virginia, the Lovings secured their future when the court struck down all state laws prohibiting mixed marriage. Acclaimed author Larry Dane Brimner’s thorough research and detailed reconstruction of the Loving v. Virginia case memorializes the emotional journey towards marriage equality in this critical addition to his award-winning oeuvre of social justice titles.

Author’s note. Bibliography. Source notes. Index. Black-and-white and full-color photographs.

ISBN: 9781629797519

JLG Release: Feb 2021


Sensitive Areas: Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism
Topics: Mildred Jeter Loving (1939–2008) , Richard Perry Loving (1933–1975) , Interracial marriage , Twentieth-century US history , Twentieth-century Virginia history , Civil rights , Human rights , Trials and litigation , US law and legislation , US Supreme Court cases

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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

School Library Journal

This effective account of the Loving v. Virginia case examines the legal process behind the 1967 landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision, which ruled that laws banning interracial marriage were unconstitutional. In July of 1958, Mildred and Richard Loving were arrested in their home in the middle of the night for “unlawful cohabitation.” Although This effective account of the Loving v. Virginia case examines the legal process behind the 1967 landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision, which ruled that laws banning interracial marriage were unconstitutional. In July of 1958, Mildred and Richard Loving were arrested in their home in the middle of the night for “unlawful cohabitation.” Although the couple had married in Washington, DC, the state of Virginia did not recognize their union. When a judge banished the couple from living together in Virginia, they were forced to move to DC, sneaking back to Virginia to visit family and friends. Mildred eventually contacted a lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union and was connected with Bernard S. Cohen, who took on the case. Cohen hoped to overturn laws that he felt were “relics of slavery.” Cohen teamed up with another lawyer, Philip Hirschkop. They took the case to the Supreme Court in 1967, where they argued for equal protection under the 14th Amendment for all citizens, and asserted that the Jim Crow marriage laws were meant to keep non-white people as second-class citizens. Brimner details the legal arguments on both sides. A chapter titled “After Loving” describes the fight for marriage equality and how the gay community often drew on the Loving case when forming their legal strategies. High-quality photographs of primary sources and the featured individuals are included. VERDICT Brimner provides an accessible, succinct introduction to the legal arguments and issues of Loving v. ­Virginia. Recommended for all middle and high school collections.–Kristy Pasquariello, Westwood P.L., MA

Horn Book

Brimner (Black & White; Twelve Days in May, rev. 1/17) presents another compelling story of civil rights history. Richard Loving, a white man, and Mildred Jeter, a woman of African and Native ancestry, loved each other and wanted to get married. But that was against the law in Virginia in the 1960s. Brimner weaves together their personal stories— Brimner (Black & White; Twelve Days in May, rev. 1/17) presents another compelling story of civil rights history. Richard Loving, a white man, and Mildred Jeter, a woman of African and Native ancestry, loved each other and wanted to get married. But that was against the law in Virginia in the 1960s. Brimner weaves together their personal stories—their courtship, marriage, and family life; their arrest in Virginia, subsequent move to Washington, DC, and move back in defiance of parole—with the larger legacy of prejudice and bigotry in the Jim Crow South. He provides a brief primer on the constitutional challenges their case presented, as it wound its way, slowly but surely, through the federal court system, culminating with the Supreme Court ruling in favor of the Lovings in 1967. The book is enhanced by black-and-white photographs throughout; candid shots of Richard and Mildred are particularly effective, characterizing the couple as an especially tender and affectionate one. A final chapter explains how this case set the stage for the marriage equality activism at the turn of the twenty-first century that enabled LGBTQ people to marry whom they wish. Recent books on this case include a picture book, The Case for Loving (rev. 5/15) by Selina Alko and Sean Qualls, and a “documentary novel” in verse, Loving vs. Virginia (rev. 1/17) by Patricia Hruby Powell and Shadra Strickland, so this straight nonfiction book is a welcome addition. A bibliography, source notes, and index are appended. JONATHAN HUNT

Book Details

ISBN

9781629797519

First Release

February 2021

Genre

Nonfic

Dewey Classification

306.84

Trim Size

9" x 6"

Page Count

112

Accelerated Reader

N/A

Scholastic Reading Counts

N/A

Lexile

Level 1260L

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Calkins Creek

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism

Topics

Mildred Jeter Loving (1939–2008), Richard Perry Loving (1933–1975), Interracial marriage, Twentieth-century US history, Twentieth-century Virginia history, Civil rights, Human rights, Trials and litigation, US law and legislation, US Supreme Court cases,

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