Loving v. Virginia: State honors couple who challenged interracial marriage ban

This Jan. 26, 1965 file photo shows Mildred Loving and her husband Richard P Loving. Fifty years after Mildred and Richard Loving’s landmark legal challenge shattered the laws against interracial marriage in the U.S., some couples of different races still talk of facing discrimination, disapproval and sometimes outright hostility from their fellow Americans. (AP Photo)

FARMVILLE, Va. (WSET) -- Love is a four-letter word that can be hard for some to say; but for the Loving family, it was illegal.

"I told my kids before we came this morning that it was important for them to know this story because if it wasn't for them, they wouldn't be here," said Patricia Carter, a Farmville resident.

Carter and her three kids are part of a mixed-race family.

Before the supreme court ruling of Loving V. Virginia it was illegal to marry outside of your race - something that would have affected families like Carter's. "Something that we take for granted all the time," Carter remarked.

Monday marked the 50th anniversary of the 1967 landmark case. To remember the landmark ruling, the Robert R. Moton Museum hosted a screening of an HBO documentary about the decision.

"In Prince Edward county there's always been an issue of black and white. We find it important to continue educating folks about what happened," said Cainan Townsend, the Director of Education.

Townsend says we often forget these are right behind us in recent history. "This isn't 400 years ago. This is 50 years. Only for 50 years have people of opposite races have been able to marry legally," Townsend added.

White is trustee for the museum and is also in an interracial marriage. He says that although times have changed, this country still has a long way to go.

"We need to understand our history. I don't think these kinds of things we need to hide under a rug. And act like they never happened," said Ronald White. "We need to understand that racism hasn't disappeared it's just in some ways become more covert."

The Moton Museum directors say their main goal in showing films like these is to keep the conversation about race relations open and continue to educate people in the community.

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