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Miscegenation and Interracial Marriage

Miscegenation and Interracial Marriage

Defining Miscegenation

Miscegenation is the mingling of people from different races, often through sexual intercourse, cohabitation, or marriage. The word is used historically to connote an interaction between different ethnic groups, especially in historical laws that argue against interracial marriages.

The History of Interracial Marriage in Virginia

The history of interracial marriages in Virginia dates back to 1958 when two, Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter, traveled to Washington, D.C., from their home state to facilitate a marriage between them. According to Renn (2021), after returning to Virginia, the two were wife and husband and arrested for violating a Virginia law that banned marriage between white people and people of color. The two went to court and pleaded guilty, after which they were ordered to leave Virginia and not come back as a married couple for 25 years. They relocated to Washington, D.C., but challenged the Virginia miscegenation law that haunted them. Although their application was rejected, it sparked reactions to the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals (Boucai, 2020). A decade later, in 1967, the conviction between the two was reversed and termed an infringement of the fundamental rights of human beings. The marriage between Mildred and Loving was now legal and formed the basis for interracial marriages in Virginia.

Why the Lovings Were Forced to Move to Washington, D.C.

Richard and Mildred were forced to relocate to Washington, D.C., for breaking the miscegenation law that governed people in Virginia state. Specifically, they were forced out because they married each other against the law, which did not allow people from different ethnic backgrounds to marry each other. Richard Loving was white, while Mildred was black, and a marriage of such people of color was not allowed. Since they had gone to Washington D.C. for official marriage, they were forced to return there because the law was not active in Washington D.C. Additionally, they could be out of the jurisdictions of the Virginia laws.

Determining Whether the Lovings Could Have Raised the Argument of Race Based on the Civil Rights Act of 1964?

The Lovings would have used race as a protected class under the 1964 Civil Rights Act to argue the case against them to their side. Notably, this is so because their marriage in Virginia was revoked based on race. Essentially, Richard Loving was from a “white” race, while Mildred was from a “black race” (Renn, 2021). Even the reversal that authorized their marriage clearly shows that race as a protected class in the Civil Rights 1964 was upheld. Therefore, they could have considered it as an argument in their favor.


Boucai, M. (2020). Before loving: The lost origins of the right to marry. Utah L. Rev., 69.

Renn, K. A. (2021). Multiracial identity on campus: Identities and experiences of Multiracial people in higher education. In Multiracial Experiences in Higher Education (pp. 17-36). Routledge.


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Miscegenation and Interracial Marriage

Miscegenation and Interracial Marriage

For this assignment, review the Loving case and the accompanying video. Also, skim the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Then, in no more than two-typed pages, double-spaced, 12-point font, do the following:
Define miscegenation
Explain the history of interracial marriage in Virginia
State why the Lovings were forced to move to Washington, D.C.
Race is a protected class under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Could the Lovings have raised that law in arguing their side? Why or why not?

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