ScholarShift Stories: Exploring Loving v. Virginia

December 07, 2016

Students view documentary and grapple with momentous court decision.

Students explored the landmark civil rights decision of Loving v. Virginia during a recent ScholarShift module on Wednesday, December 7. 

Led by History and Economics Instructor Andrea Moyer and Math Instructor Jocelyn Simpfenderfer, the module provided an overview of the climate of segregation and racism that pervaded the south following the period of the Civil War and Reconstruction leading up to the case of the Lovings nearly a century later.

Students learned about the case of Richard and Mildred Loving through the film The Loving Story, which followed an interracial couple that married in 1958 and were forced to leave the state of Virginia in violation of the state’s Racial Integrity Act of 1924.

The Lovings were arrested in their own home and sentenced to one year in prison for their relationship, with the sentence suspended on the stipulation that they leave Virginia and do not return for at least 25 years. The Lovings eventually contested the ruling, and the Act and their sentence was unanimously overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1967.

The module concluded with a group discussion of the film and the momentous court decision.

  • Grey Villet