Written By: Jordannah Elizabeth
On June 12, 1967 The United States Supreme Court deemed it unconstitutional to prohibit interracial marriage in the United States of America.
While leading a graduate level writing course on self identity in Black women in Baltimore, MD, one of my attendees confessed that in her personal understanding, and after living in Mississippi for several years, Baltimore was in many ways more racist than Mississippi. She expressed that White and Black people were very comfortable around each other there, and there wasn’t an underlying tension that she experienced in Baltimore.
I was not surprised to hear this. I personally found the racial segregation in the city to be profound. I moved around often as a teenager and young woman and spent extensive time in cities like New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, which seemed to be utopias even as the white artist and technology class continued to overwhelm the comfort of people of color in those cities, no one ever blinked an eye, questioned or combated my involvement in interracial relationships until I moved to Baltimore. There, I was treated as if I had been brainwashed or was under a deep generational curse for bonding with people intimately who were outside of my race.
Early in my life, my mother pretty much accepted all of my diverse friends while I was living under her roof as a young person: Black, White, LGTBQ, punks, boyfriends and all. No one was turned away. Nothing was uttered about some of my past partner’s being White until I moved back to Baltimore City as an adult. So, I found it quite ironic that Baltimore was the place where I learned about The Lovings.
A children’s book lay in front of me as I browsed through my local bookstore. It caught my eye as it was called, “A Case for Loving”. I flipped through the pages and in seconds learned about “Loving vs. Virginia”, the interracial couple who were the final catalysts for the 1967 landmark decision that made the illegality of interracial marriage unconstitutional.
You see, my life’s secret is that I teach on a graduate level, but I learn with a childlike sense of curiosity. At 30, I had no problem with picking up a children’s book to learn about American history. This part of history affects the life I live today. I was never told I couldn’t be with someone because they looked different that I did. As an American citizen, I know for a fact that this was because of one courageous couple who put themselves and their children’s lives on the line to create a safer and more accepting existence for me in my country in 2017.
For that, I am eternally grateful.