Mildred Loving and her husband, Richard, never asked to be heroes of the Civil Rights movement. But when the state of Virginia deemed their interracial marriage illegal, the couple fought back. And won.
She was of African-American and Native American descent; marrying Richard Loving–who was white–violated Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act. After they were ordered to leave the state, Mildred wrote the Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who suggested she contact the American Civil Liberties Union. Her decision to fight against the bans on interracial marriages led to the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court case striking down such laws nationwide. The Lovings returned to Virginia where they lived as a legal, married couple.