Interracial couple in America during the 1950-60s

Interracial couple in America during the 1950-60s.

Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter, an interracial couple, fell in love in Virginia in early 1960s. The couple were supported by both families and most of their friends. In spite of the state law, the couple decided to marry and start a family. Because they were an interracial couple, they decided to marry in the District of Columbia. Richard’s co-workers were unaware of the couple’s secret marriage.

Once the town did learn, they rejected the couple. The couple, however, did have intimate face-to-face interaction with Mildred’s family. Richard’s mother rejected their marriage, but still maintained a friendly face-to-face interaction with the couple.

The local sheriff’s office and judicial system rejected the couple’s marriage. They were arrested frequently. Each time, Mildred’s father bailed them out using his own money. A friendly lawyer took on their case and worked out a plea deal: The couple were sentenced to jail time unless they moved out of state for twenty-five years. The couple did relocate to the District of Columbia.

In the District of Columbia, the Richard’s boss and co-workers did not seem to mind the interracial marriage. Although neighbors and friends also did not seem to mind the marriage, the couple grew homesick and decided to move back to their home town in Virginia to be near family. Later, the couple reached out to the ACLU who went on to represent them in court all the way to the Supreme Court.

The Loving’s case was heard by the Supreme Court which ruled interracial marriages are protected by the U.S. Constitution. The Loving family returned to Virginia to live out their lives with family and friends.

Interracial couple in America: Questions

1. Describe how the primary group shaped the social nature of the Lovings. Explain how the Loving couple’s primary group influenced their lives. How did this group influence the couple’s behavior?

2. Explain how the secondary groups influenced the Loving couple and their behavior.

3. What were some of the social and behavioral expectations in the rural South during the 1950s and 1960s regarding marriage and racial interactions? How did these expectations influence the Lovings?

4. Describe the formal organizations and bureaucracies involved in the Loving’s case. Explain how formal organizations and bureaucracies affected the Lovings.

5. Finally, explain how the acceptance of the Lovings by their families influenced their decision to endure persecution and prosecution by society.

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