Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage

The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage

Selina Alko
Illustrator:  Selina Alko , Sean Qualls 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Scholastic, 2015   ISBN: 978-0545478533

In 1958 Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter lived in the small town of Central Point in Virginia. Richard was a white young whose fair skin burned easily in the hot summer sun. Mildred was “colored,” and her skin was the color of a “creamy caramel.” Richard was the kind of man who did not care about the color of other people’s skin, the shape of their eyes, or the color of their hair. For him people were people and when he fell in love with Mildred he did what felt right to him: he asked her to marry him.

Mildred was delighted with the proposal because she loved Richard as much as he loved her. People who loved each other should be allowed to get married, but in Virginia, and sixteen other states, marriage between whites and African-Americans was not allowed. It was against the law.

Not wanting to get arrested and put in jail, the couple went to Washington, D.C. where interracial marriage was allowed, and in the presence of friends and family members they were married. They were happy to begin their lives together as a couple back in Virginia but their happiness did not last long.

Soon after the wedding the police came to Richard and Mildred’s home in the middle of the night and they took the couple away and put them in jail. Their marriage certificate was not valid in Virginia and it was against the law for a white person and an African-American person to cohabit. After a few days behind bars the couple was told that they had to leave Virginia if they wanted to live together. They had no choice but to go and so they did, reluctantly.

What no one expected was that Richard and Mildred were not going to go away quietly. They were fighters, and they were going to fight for couples like them to have the right to get married.

In this special nonfiction picture book, the story of a real couple is told with beautiful simplicity and compassion. Children will find out that not that long ago whites and African-Americans could not marry in some parts of the United States, and that it took a court case to end this form of discrimination. They will see how the efforts of two people brought about an important change in American history.