Synopsis by Mark Deming
In 1958, Richard Loving married his girlfriend Mildred Jeter in a small ceremony in Washington D.C. However, the couple was from Caroline County, Virginia, and had to travel elsewhere so they could be wed -- Richard was white, Mildred was of mixed African-American and Native-American ancestry, and under Virginia's Racial Integrity Act, they could not be legally married in that state, one of sixteen that had anti-miscegenation statutes on the books. A sheriff in Caroline County chose to make an example of the Lovings and arrested them for their "crime" of being married. Richard and Mildred were found guilty and received a suspended sentence of one year in prison; they moved to Washington D.C. and raised three children, but would occasionally sneak back to Virginia for family gatherings. In 1963, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, the Lovings filed a suit demanding their case be set aside on the grounds that the Racial Integrity Act was unconstitutional; the suit eventually reached the United States Supreme Court, and became one of the defining legal battles of the Civil Rights movement. Filmmaker Nancy Buirski tells the story of the Lovings' battle for the right to marry, as well as profiling the couple behind the headlines, in the documentary The Loving Story. Including home movies of the Loving family and interviews with their friends and relatives, The Loving Story was an official selection at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival.