Loving vs Virginia

Jeffrey R. Davis

Jeff Davis is serving as co-chair for ABOTA MIAMI’S BLACK HISTORY MONTH LECTURE SERIES.

The text is-Davis and his co-chair, Ben Esco of the Cole, Scott, Kissane law firm have enlisted 21 of their fellow trial lawyers to assist the Honorable Judge William Thomas of the 11 Judicial Circuit for Miami-Dade County, Florida and numerous other Judges in observing Black History Month. Volunteer presenters will chose famous figures or events to present to middle and high school classes in multiple schools throughout the county.

As Judge Thomas so clearly reminds us: Black History is American History!

Davis will present the story of an unlikely black hero – Mildred Loving, who only sought to marry the man she loved and ended up changing the course of American history by banning laws against interracial marriage

“Davis had the opportunity to present the story behind the 1967 case of Loving v. Virginia to the Coral Gables Senior Highschool class of Mr. Aaron Miller on February 5, 2021. Mildred Loving  , by successfully challenging the anti-miscegenation laws of Virginia , unwittingly changed the course of history leading all the way to the 2015 Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges legalizing same-sex marriages.”

Jeffrey R. Davis

About Me

Jeffrey R. Davis

  • SUNY Stony Brook ‘83
  • University of Miami School of Law ‘86
  • Florida Bar 1986 – Present
  • Plaintiff’s Civil Trial Lawyer
  • From Massapequa, NY
  • Married – 3 Children
  • Youngest – Senior in High school

Black History Month

Started in 1926

  • Officially recognized 1970 – Kent State
  • 1976 – Recognized by Pres. Ford

Why February?

  • Birthdays of Pres. Lincoln and Frederick Douglass
Black History Month

Case Summary: Loving vs. Virginia

Mildred Loving (1939 – 2008)

Mildred Loving

Mildred Delores Jeter

  • From Virginia

African American and Native American

  • Cherokee and Rappahannock

Central Point, VA

  • Whites and Blacks mixed with little tension

Attending all-Black school when she met Richard, white high school student:

  • Pregnant at 18
  • Decided to get married



Laws that prohibit interracial marriage

  • Essentially white racial “purity” laws
  • Started in 1600s – Slavery laws
  • 16 states still had laws in 1967
  • Existed in South Africa, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Nazi Germany
  • Laws had been abandoned during Reconstruction, but brought back by White Southern Democrats in the ‘20s.

The Law

Racial Integrity Act of 1924

  • Illegal for white and black people to marry and “cohabitate”




  • Richard and Mildred Loving married in DC
  • Arrested


  • Forced to leave Virginia – couldn’t return together for 25 yrs
  • Moved to DC with 3 kids


  • Mildred writes to Attorney Robert Kennedy, asking for help
  • ACLU intervenes – petition for reconsideration

Judge responds:

“Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”


  • Lawyers appeal to Virginia Supreme Court – conviction is upheld


  • US Supreme Court
  • June 12, 1967
    • Supreme Court overturns conviction and declares anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional

“The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual, and cannot be infringed by the State.

These convictions must be reversed.

It is so ordered.”

– Chief Justice Warren

14th Amendment – Section 1

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

No State Shall

Make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.


  • Same-sex marriage (2015)
  • Federal v State
  • Popular Culture
    • Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967)
    • Loving (2016)
  • Acceptance of biracial marriages
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
Acceptance of biracial marriages
Celebrity Couples
Virginia “Ginni” Thomas
Virginia “Ginni” Thomas and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas
Family Pic

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Jeffrey is a very knowledgeable and competent attorney. When I spoke with Jeffrey the first time on the phone, he was professional and answered any questions I had. So if you are ever in need of an awesome personal injury attorney who has excellent communication skills...

Dr. Jared R.

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