Loving Day

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Loving Day
Observed by United States
Type Secular
Significance Anniversary of Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia
Date June 12

Loving Day is an annual celebration held on June 12, the anniversary of the 1967 United States Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia which struck down all anti-miscegenation laws remaining in sixteen U.S. states."[1][2][3] In the United States, anti-miscegenation laws were U.S. state laws banning interracial marriage, mainly forbidding marriage between non-whites and whites.

Loving Day is not an officially recognized holiday by the U.S. government, but there is a movement to persuade U.S. President Barack Obama to make it so.[4][5] Loving Day is the biggest multiracial celebration in the United States.[6]


The "Loving" side of the U.S. Supreme Court case consisted of Mildred and Richard Loving, a black woman and a white man. They first met when she was 11 and he was 17. He was a family friend and over the years they started courting. After she became pregnant, they got married in Washington, D.C., in 1958, when she was 18.[7] Reportedly, Mildred didn't realize that interracial marriage was illegal, and they were arrested a few weeks after they returned to their hometown north of Richmond, Virginia. They pleaded guilty to charges of "cohabiting as man and wife, against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth," and avoided jail time by agreeing to leave Virginia. They moved to Washington, D.C., and began legal action by writing to U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. Kennedy referred the case to the American Civil Liberties Union. After the Warren Court unanimously ruled in favor of the young couple, they returned to Virginia, where they lived with their three children. Mildred Loving died May 5, 2008 at the age of 68. Richard Loving had died about thirty-three years earlier in a car accident. Each June 12, the anniversary of the ruling, Loving Day events around the country mark the advances of mixed-race couples.


Many organizations sponsor annual parties across the country, with Lovingday.org providing an online legal map, courtroom history of anti-miscegenation laws, as well as offering testimonials by and resources for interracial couples. Inspired by Juneteenth (which commemorates the end of slavery in the state of Texas), Loving Day seeks both to commemorate and celebrate the Supreme Court's 1967 ruling, keeping its importance fresh in the minds of a generation which has grown up with interracial relationships being legal, as well as explore issues facing couples currently in interracial relationships. The Loving Day website features information, including court transcripts of the Loving v. Virginia case and of other court cases in which the legality of anti-miscegenation laws was challenged. To celebrate the holiday, people are encouraged to hold parties in which the case and its modern-day legacy are discussed, in smaller settings such as living rooms, backyards, etc., as well as in larger gatherings. Ken Tanabe is credited with forming the idea for Loving Day. He created the idea in 2004 for his senior thesis at Parsons the New School of Design.[6]

In popular culture[edit]

  • A documentary, The Loving Story,[8][9] which features rare contemporaneous photographs of the couple and details the history of the case and references Loving Day, premiered on HBO on Valentine's Day 2012.[10][11][12][13]
  • New York Times best-selling author Heidi W. Durrow[14][15] co-organized the second-largest celebration of Loving Day in the country with Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni, during the annual Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival.[16][17]
  • The flagship Loving Day Celebration in New York City was featured in the BBC documentary series Our World in 2007, on the 40th anniversary of the Loving decision.[18] Coverage of the annual celebration has also been featured in Time Magazine,[19] on the Voice of America,[20] National Public Radio,[21] the Washington Post,[22] and on the PBS NewsHour.[23]
  • Several cities and municipalities have issued proclamations officially recognizing Loving Day as a holiday, including Washington DC and Caroline County, Virginia,[24] where the Lovings hailed from.[25]

In other countries[edit]

The Netherlands[edit]

Since 2013,[26][27] Loving Day has been celebrated with an annual symposium at De Balie theater in Amsterdam, organized by the Stichting Loving Day foundation.[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tucker, Neely (2006-06-13). "Loving Day Recalls a Time When the Union of a Man And a Woman Was Banned". The Washington Post. 
  2. ^ Bussel, Rachel Kramer (2006-06-06). "Love Actually: Talking with Ken Tanabe, founder of Loving Day". The Village Voice. 
  3. ^ Gandin Le, Jennifer (2007-06-08). "Loving Day: It's Not a Hallmark Holiday". The Huffington Post. 
  4. ^ "Make Loving Day Official". lovingday.org. Retrieved 12 June 2015. 
  5. ^ "'Loving Day' Personified in Presidential Race". NPR.org. 12 June 2008. Retrieved 12 June 2015. 
  6. ^ a b "Loving Day". TIME magazine. June 11, 2010. 
  7. ^ Walker, Dionne (June 11, 2007). "American Matriarch". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Archived from the original on July 6, 2008. Retrieved September 27, 2011. 
  8. ^ "The Loving Story". The Loving Story. Retrieved 12 June 2015. 
  9. ^ HBO Documentary Films: The Loving Story Trailer
  10. ^ The New York Times Lens blog, "The Heart of the Matter: Love", Jan. 18, 2012
  11. ^ HBO Documentary Films: The Loving Story
  12. ^ "Documentary Examines US Struggle to End Bans on Interracial Marriage". VOA. Retrieved 12 June 2015. 
  13. ^ Fredericksburg (VA) Star: "Film retells Lovings' love story", Feb. 6, 2012
  14. ^ The New York Times Sunday Book Review: "The Bluest Eye", Feb. 28, 2010
  15. ^ New York Times "Best Sellers: Paperback Trade Fiction", Sunday, March 13th, 2011
  16. ^ Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival
  17. ^ "Interview with author Heidi Durrow, The Girl Who Fell From the Sky". Psychology Today. Retrieved 12 June 2015. 
  18. ^ BBC World 24: Our World: Loving vs Virginia, part 3
  19. ^ "Loving Day Honors Mixed-Marriage, Fights Prejudice". June 11, 2010. 
  20. ^ "Loving Day Marks 1967 Victory for Legal Interracial Marriage". VOA. Retrieved 12 June 2015. 
  21. ^ NPR: "Celebrating 40 Years of Loving Day", June 11, 2008
  22. ^ The Washington Post: "Mildred Loving Followed Her Heart and Made History", May 6, 2008
  23. ^ Remembering Mr. and Mrs. Loving. YouTube. 9 June 2010. Retrieved 12 June 2015. 
  24. ^ Caroline County Official Proclamation of June 12 as Loving Day
  25. ^ ACLU of Virginia: "Emotional Gathering in Caroline County Celebrates ACLU Case Striking Down Virginia's Anti-Miscegenation Law", Feb. 5. 2012
  26. ^ Official announcement for the first LovingDay.NL symposium on Vijfeeuwenimmigratie (“Five Centuries of Immigration”) website (nl)
  27. ^ Program of 2013 LovingDay.NL symposium on Vijfeeuwenimmigratie website (nl)
  28. ^ LovingDay. "Loving Day 2015". lovingday.nl. Retrieved 12 June 2015. 

External links[edit]