"We loved each other and got married. We are not marrying the state. The law should allow a person to marry anyone he wants."
-- Mildred Loving on her court challenge to Virginia's anti-interracial-marriage law, as quoted by the Washington Evening Star in 1965. The Supreme Court ruled in 1967 that Mildred, an African-American, and her husband, Richard, who was white, had the right to marry, legalizing interracial marriage throughout the country.
Loving died on Monday at age 68, the Associated Press reported Tuesday. She was predeceased by her husband, who died in a car accident in 1975, in which Mildred was also injured. Before their successful court battle, the couple was arrested and forced to move out of the state of Virginia to avoid jail time for the crime of "cohabiting as man and wife, against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth."
Publicity shy, Loving gave few interviews late in life. Yet she did make a statement last year on the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling to voice her support for gays' and lesbians' right to marry, according to the New York Times. Every June 12, the anniversary of the ruling, events mark Loving Day to celebrate the legalization of marriage by interracial couples.