Loving v. Virginia Link to Trinidad
Lot's of interesting news today (some I'll post later in the day). First up is an email from a movie producer working on a documentary film about Richard and Mildred Loving, the couple involved in the Supreme Court case that struck down interracial marriage bans. As you can see below, the producer says that the couple spent some time residing in Trinidad (about a block and a half from my house, actually). I haven't heard this before, and I haven't had time to explore it further, but it's cool news, and something I will pursue. The timing seems appropriate too following on the heels of the legalization of gay marriage.
Dear Trinidad and Ivy residents,
I am currently producing a film about Richard and Mildred Loving, the iconic couple whose struggle to be married across racial lines went all the way to the Supreme Court in 1967. You may know that during their court-imposed exile from Virginia, Richard and Mildred lived at 1151 Neal Street, NE, Washington DC, with one of Mildred's sisters, between 1959-1967.
As a part of our film we are searching for archival materials (photographs, old home movies, film footage, documents) that will help us visually establish what life was like in your neighborhood in the late 1950s and early 1960s. We are also looking for people who knew Richard and/or Mildred when they were living in DC, and would be willing to talk to us about their experiences with them.
If you have any old photographs or home movies of the area (or you know of somebody who does), please get in touch with me as soon as possible. I can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com, or my mobile phone, 917-432-8684. I am coming to Washington DC early next week, and would be delighted to meet with you to see your materials, or to discuss our project with you. We have the full cooperation and support of the Loving family and their attorneys, and want to bring their amazing story to the screen with as much accuracy as possible.
You can read more about the film on our website:
Elisabeth Haviland James
THE LOVING STORY: A LONG WALK HOME
Elisabeth Haviland James
Feeling not so great today I left work early, so I have a little time to look at this further. A quick Google search pulls up a bit of info:
The Lovings did indeed live at that location during the time period mentioned. At least one essay states that they were staying with one of Richard Loving's cousins (Trinidad used to be a much more mixed neighborhood than it has been in recent decades). It appears that they were not full time residents there, but it seems to have been listed as their legal address, and they did live there portions of those years. At any rate, this is pretty interesting to me. I think it is also interesting to anyone who has ever taken a course in Constitutional Law, Family Law, or any sort of course on race and the law. The case has also been talked about a great deal in recent years during the gay marriage debates. The nexus there is not only the civil rights issue, and the marriage connection, but the fact that prior to her death less than two years ago Mildred Loving made a statement in support of gay marriage that was reported in the media.
The Loving case is probably as well known to even the casual scholar (I don't think that's a contradiction) of civil rights law as Brown (which iteration?) v. Board of Education or Heart of Atlanta Motel. It was hugely important, truly a landmark case. If you read the obituary above, you maybe struck by the similarity between the circumstances of the original arrest in Loving, and that in Lawrence v. Texas. In Loving, police, acting on an anonymous tip, burst in on the couple in bed (five weeks after they had been married in DC) and arrested both Lovings. In Lawrence, police, acting on an anonymous tip, burst in on two men in bed together and arrested them both. Thankfully, in DC at least, we've now not only recognized that what consenting adults do in their bedroom is their own business, but that two consenting adults have the right to marry as well. Kind of cool to think that a major stepping stone on the way took place right here in Trinidad.
After their arrests, the Lovings were given suspended one year sentences, and told not to return to Virginia at the same time for 25 years. They moved to Trinidad, and lived with relatives. In 1963, with the Civil Rights Movement in full swing, Mildred Loving wrote a letter to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy about her plight. He referred her to the ACLU, and from there it became history with a ruling issued by the Supreme Court in 1967 that struck down the last of the miscegenation laws in the United States (I believe 16 states had such laws at the time of the final decision).