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On July 11, 1958, newlyweds Richard and Mildred Loving were asleep in bed when three armed police officers burst into the room.
The couple were hauled from their house and thrown into jail, where Mildred remained for several days, all for the crime of getting married.
At that time, 24 states across the country had laws strictly prohibiting marriage between people of different races.
Five weeks earlier, the longtime couple had learned Mildred was pregnant and decided to wed in defiance of the law. Upon their return to Virginia, they were arrested and found guilty, with the judge informing Mildred that “as long as you live you will be known as a felon.” The Lovings moved to the relative safety of Washington, but longed to return to their home state.
In order to evade Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act, the pair had traveled to Washington, D. In 1963, they approached the American Civil Liberties Union to fight their case in court.
Although such laws officially remained on the books in several states, the Lovings’ landmark victory rendered them effectively unenforceable, ensuring nobody else would have to endure the same treatment.
The last law officially prohibiting interracial marriage was repealed in Alabama in 2000.
While attending law school in England, Ruth met Sir Seretse Khama (then Prince Seretse Khama), the chief of the Bamangwato tribe, who became Botswana's first president in 1966.
Under his leadership, the country underwent significant economic and social progress, while Ruth was a For eight years they lived as exiles in England, until the Bamangwato sent a personal cable to the Queen in protest.
Their sons Ian and Tshekedi later became significant political figures as well.