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It Was Illegal In 16 States For Whites To Marry Blacks When My Parents Got Married In 1965.

It Was Illegal In 16 States For Whites To Marry Blacks When My Parents Got Married In 1965. 

Shannon Amos | Yogi

My Dad met & fell in love w/ my Mom while attending college at Colorado State University. He was from the inner city of Newark, NJ — she was from the small mid-west town of Esterville, Iowa. For them, it was love at first sight. However, it was a tumultuous time in the world around them.

On Feb 21st, 1965, just 2 months after their marriage, Malcom Ex would be assassinated. 2 years later, on April 4th 1968, Martin Luther King would be killed. In the midst of it all, their love would produce a child (me). I was born a year before my parents would be recognized as a legal couple in 16 states.

By 1968, Loving vs. The State of Virginia, became a landmark civil rights case. The U.S. Supreme court struck down laws banning interracial marriage. The case involved Mildred Loving, a black woman, and her white husband, Richard loving, who in 1958 were sentenced to a year in prison for marrying each other. Their marriage violated Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act of 1924, which criminalized marriage between people classified as “white” and people classified as “colored.” The Lovings appealed their conviction to the Supreme Court of Virginia, which upheld it. They then appealed to the Supreme Court, which agreed to hear it. On June 12, 1967, the court issued a unanimous decision in the Loving’s favor and overturned their convictions.

As a child I didn’t know my parents were different colors. I only saw them as my parents— the two people who loved me. All I knew was their love. One day, when I was 5 years old, that all changed. My parents took me on cross country road trip. As we pulled into a gas station in Arizona, a white man came out of the service station w/ a loaded shot gun. He aimed it at my Dad & told him to get his White trash and their nigger child off his property. Everything changed that day. My parents would have no choice but to explain to me the man’s frightening behavior. They would be forced to introduce me to the existence of racism and my innocent view of the world was forever changed.

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