ST. PAUL, Minn. – Nearly 50 years after the Supreme Court struck down the last remaining bans on interracial marriage in the U.S., a film called “Loving” highlights the events that led up to the decision.
The movie is showing at four theaters in the Twin Cities. The film highlights the landmark case Loving v. Virginia.
Richard Loving was white and his wife, Mildred Jeter was black. They married in Washington, D.C. in 1958. Then, returned home to Virginia where it was illegal for black people to marry white people. Once home, they were arrested in the middle of the night.
Inspired by the civil rights movement, Mildred wrote to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy for help. He directed her to the American Civil Liberties Union, which took the case to the Supreme Court. In 1967, the court prohibited all state bans on interracial marriages.
Keith Mayes, University of Minnesota Associate Professor of American and African Studies, said stories exploring black history is picking up.
“Hollywood has decided to not only tap into the narrative of African American history, but feel compelled that it is important to tell these stories,” he said. “It shows the importance of the civil rights movement and augmenting democracy and social justice.”
U.S. Census data from 2010 shows interracial married couples grew by 28 percent over a 10 year period. According to the data, interracial or opposite-sex married couple households grew by 28 percent over the decade from 7 percent in 2000 to 10 percent in 2010. States with higher percentages of couples of a different race or Hispanic origin in 2010 were primarily located in the western and southwestern parts of the United States, along with Hawaii and Alaska.
Joe Kastens and his wife Tai make up the changing face of America. Both said they have had uncomfortable stares from the public. Joe is white and his wife is black.
"Occasionally people assume we are not together and try to seat us separately at restaurants," Tai Kastens said.
But despite the few unwanted encounters, the Inver Grove Heights couple said they hope the film changes perspectives.