Valentine’s Day is less than 24 hours away. Perhaps your mind is focused on your sweetie or your spouse. But, Valentine’s Day is about love. All kinds of love. This year, why not take a moment to honor everyone as part of your Valentine’s Day celebration.
Valentine’s Day falls right smack in the middle of Black History Month. Perhaps, before dinner and dancing, you and your sweetheart or even the whole family, could plan a trip to the Great Plains Black History Museum, at 2213 Lake. Perhaps you could purchase Valentine’s gifts at the Aframerican bookstore, at 3226 Lake. Why not make it a multicultural Valentine’s Day and show some love for everyone!
In the State of Nebraska, interracial marriage was illegal until 1963, as it pertained to marriage between whites and African Americans or Chinese peoples. In other states, we see a wide range of laws and dates.
For instance, in states like Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, and New Hampshire–basically most of the New England states–the right was never restricted. In the south, the practice was banned almost everywhere until 1967.
In that year, the United States Supreme Court legalized interracial marriage nationwide when it granted the appeal of Mildred nee Jeter and Richard Loving in Loving v. Virginia.
Mildred and Richard Loving went to Washington, D.C., where they were legally wed. However, their home state, Virginia, did not recognize their marriage. Shortly after their return, they were awakened in the night and arrested. Mildred was African American and Richard was white. The judge suspended their one-to-three year sentence in exchange for banishment from the State of Virginia.
Given the discrimination they faced in their new home, and their estrangement from their families, the Lovings desperately wished to return to Virginia. Mildred sent a letter to the Attorney General’s office. The letter eventually made its way to the ACLU in New York. Members of the NYCLU matched the Lovings with two lawyers who took their case pro bono. The case then wound its way through the legal system until it came before the U.S. Supreme Court nine years later.
Today, we celebrate that day on June 12th with Loving Day. Loving Day is not simply a celebration of love and marriage, but also a celebration of diversity, and an opportunity to speak out against prejudice.
For more information about the Aframerican Bookstore, call (402) 455-9200
For more information about the Black History Museum, call (402) 345-2212
For information on Loving Day, visit http://www.lovingday.org/