HBO's documentary details how the Loving family changed the law in Virginia.
Still from "The Loving Story"
Last month, to honor both Valentine’s Day and Black History Month, HBO aired an especially poignant documentary called The Loving Story. By virtue of the film’s subjects, the film reminds us that while “loving” is frequently used as an adjective and here, a proper noun, at it’s most elevated, LOVE is an active verb.
The Loving Story is about an interracial couple who fell in love and were married in Washington D.C., but moved back to Virginia to raise their children and be near their families. The Lovings were arrested on felony charges and later convicted because in the 1950s it was a crime to be married and have children with someone of a different race in the State of Virginia.
Through rare and intimate archival footage, the audience experiences the gentle, humble nature of Mildred and Richard Loving and their steadfast resolve to live together as a family. It also chronicles their effective stand on principle, as in 1967 they took their case all the way to the Supreme Court, in Loving v. Virginia and won a landmark decision, which allowed them to live and love in the place of their choosing. At the same time, the decision nullified laws on the books against miscegenation in 16 other states. It was a somewhat quiet triumph during the Civil Rights era and remains relevant today as the states debate marriage equality for same sex couples.
While researching I came across the filmmakers’ finishing funds Kickstarter campaign. They reached their fundraising goal, finished their film and enjoyed a successful festival run (including the 2011 Virginia Film Festival). In hindsight it was heartening to read about the initial goals for the telling of this story and the passionate people behind it. Thanks to all for their inspired contributions to civil rights and storytelling.
The Loving Story premiered Valentine’s Day evening on HBO and will continue to run through March 22, 2012.