Mildred Delores Jeter and Richard Loving met at the age of 13 in a small town in Virginia. By age 17, Mildred and Richard were expecting their first child, and decided to marry. Unable to do so in Virginia, due to the Racial Integrity Act, the couple traveled to Washington, DC to tie the knot.
Mildred and Richard’s marriage was unlawful in the state of VA, and they were arrested and given the choice of one year in prison, or 25 years of exile from Virginia. The Lovings chose the latter, and promptly moved to Washington, DC. Ten years later, working within the American Civil Liberties Union, the Lovings were able to overturn the centuries-old law Racial Integrity Act. In 1968, the Supreme Court ruled the ban on interracial marriage unlawful, and the decision went into effect nationally.
In 2012, photographs by a TIME Life Magazine reporter, Grey Villet, were discovered from a two week period he loved with the lovings by a couple of women who wanted to make a documentary on the Lovings. Villet grew up in South Africa and was familiar with Apartheid and racial tension. He later became involved with the civil rights movement and photographed iconic images of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. His recently discovered photographs of the Lovings tell a story of a small, humble, VA family that pushed social change in the United States.