Friday, June 12th is Loving Day. The name comes from Loving v. Virginia (1967), the Supreme Court decision which “declared all laws against interracial marriage unconstitutional in the United States.”
1967. That was only 53 years ago.
(By the way, if you haven’t already, be sure to check out the 2016, Oscar-nominated film Loving. The movie is based on the real life story of Richard and Mildred Loving whose own interracial marriage and legal battles ultimately made it possible for my husband and I to marry.)
My husband and I married in 1999. We were lucky; race wasn’t an issue for us. My parents were entirely accepting of my husband-to-be; I think because they had dealt with their own difficulties prior to marrying. When they married, in 1975, their different religious backgrounds weren’t readily accepted by their parents. (45 years later, they remain happily married.)
But even though it was 1999, and we were on the verge of a new millennium, I had the hardest time finding a wedding cake topper featuring a mixed-race couple. My mom and I visited shop after shop with no luck. Salespeople couldn’t make any suggestions about where we might locate such a cake topper. And don’t forget – this was in 1999. The internet was not what it is now.
I’ve always been disappointed that I had to settle for the closest thing I could find — a cake topper that featured a white woman with blond hair (I’m brunette) and a dark-skinned groom.
Hopefully, other brides no longer have that issue.
And hopefully, times are changing.
I think about the famous African-American individuals we learn about in school. The familiar names – Rosa Parks, Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson, just to list a few. I think about the names that Hollywood has taught us – for example, Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson (from Hidden Figures) and Mr. and Mrs. Loving.
Why aren’t those names taught?
And what other names remain unknown to most of us?