Beacon Goes to the Movies: “Loving” and the History of White Supremacy

Beacon Goes to the Movies: “Loving” and the History of White Supremacy

Beacon Broadside: A Project of Beacon Press

Ayla Zuraw-Friedland, Editorial Assistant

When publicity assistant Perpetua Charles and senior editor Joanna Green first began planning a staff trip to see the film Loving in celebration of Beacon’s forthcoming book on the same topic five months ago, they couldn’t have known for sure what our political environment would be as they and fellow members of the Beacon Press staff walked through a rainy November night to the theater. Exactly a week after the country watched the electoral votes tally in favor of a divisive Republican presidential candidate, we came together to view a retelling of how Mildred and Richard Loving, a young interracial couple from Virginia, helped end the ban on interracial marriage in the United States.

“Biopics like this leave you with an overwhelming sense of hope, right? Making you think that as soon as the anti-miscegenation laws were overturned, every interracial couple was getting married left and right and naysayers kept their mouths shut. But that’s surely not what happened,” Perpetua said, going into the film.

From reading an early copy of Sheryll Cashin’s upcoming book, Loving: Interracial Intimacy in America and the Threat to White Supremacy, I gradually came to the understanding that the story this film set out to tell feels big because it is big. Not only is it the story of Richard and Mildred Loving—their love, their decision to formally wed, their beloved hometown of Central Point, Virginia turning against them, their exile to Washington D.C., and the ten years they spent mired in the legal battle that would culminate in the seminal Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court decision. It is also a four hundred-year-old story of people defying a deeply entrenched and fiercely protected color line to love or marry in America. It is a story that has gone on for as long as this country has existed, and as this election has confirmed, is nowhere near over…

Read the entire review here.

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