The day is named for the monumental case, Loving v. Virginia, and the interracial couple at its center, Richard and Mildred Loving. The 1967 Supreme Court decision struck down 16 state bans on interracial marriage as unconstitutional. “Over the long haul, it changed America,” said Peter Wallenstein, author of “Race, Sex, and the Freedom to Marry: Loving v. Virginia. “It’s just a stunning case.”
In the five decades since the decision, interracial marriage has increased dramatically. In 2015, one in six newlyweds had a spouse of a different race or ethnicity which is more than five times higher than the number of intermarried newlyweds in 1967, according to Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.
Richard Loving died in a car crash 1975 and Mildred Loving died in 2008. Their story is chronicled in the 2016 movie “Loving” as well as the 2011 documentary “The Loving Story.”