The legal challenge mounted by Richard and Mildred Loving, convicted in the 1950s of violating Virginia's ban on interracial marriage, led to the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that antimiscegenation laws were unconstitutional. Newbeck, an attorney, examines this landmark case in the context of laws banning interracial marriage before and after Loving. But the most compelling part of this legal history is the personal recollections of a member of the Loving family, who had previously maintained public silence on the issue. Drawing also on interviews with attorneys who argued for and against such bans, Newbeck brings personal perspectives to the history, sociology, and politics of banning interracial marriage. She places the fervor over banning interracial liaisons within the context of historical sexual and racial politics and issues of social activism and family dynamics; and she places the Loving case specifically within the context of the civil rights struggle. This is an informative and insightful look at legal attempts to regulate marriage and is particularly timely given the current public debate about gay marriage. Vernon FordCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Phyl Newbeck’s Virginia Hasn’t Always Been for Lovers is a clearly written, accessible, well-organized, and remarkably researched history of the path-breaking Loving case. . . . Of particular interest is Newbeck’s seemingly indefatigable effort to interview everyone involved in Loving and other significant cases and her assiduous efforts to track down the documentary record.”Michael Meltsner, Harvard Law School and Northeastern Law School
Newbeck’s exploration of the antimiscegenation laws in America touches the very core of racial discrimination and race hatred in America: sexual intimacy between races. Using the Lovings as the tale-telling prism, she does an excellent job of illuminating the dreadful lifeand happy deathof these racist laws and folkways.”Howard Ball, author of Murder in Mississippi