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.”
Loving vs. Virginia
A Fight for the Right to Marry
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
Birthdays of Pres. Lincoln and Frederick Douglass
Case Summary: Loving vs. Virginia
Mildred Loving (1939 – 2008)
Mildred Delores Jeter
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.
Racial Integrity Act of 1924
Illegal for white and black people to marry and “cohabitate”
Richard and Mildred Loving married in DC
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
“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
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967)
Acceptance of biracial marriages
Virginia “Ginni” Thomas and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas