Speed Reads

This day in history

50 years after Loving v. Virginia, more Americans are in interracial marriages than ever

"We fail to see how any reasonable man can but conclude that these laws are slavery laws ... [and] the most odious laws to come before the court." So argued attorney Phillip Hirschkop before the Supreme Court in 1967 for the landmark case, Loving v. Virginia, that struck down the anti-miscegenation laws Hirschkop condemned and made interracial marriage legal in the United States 50 years ago today.

Five decades on, American attitudes about mixed-race marriages have changed dramatically since the time when Richard and Mildred Loving faced a year in prison for violating Virginia's "Racial Integrity Act" by getting married. As data from Pew Research shows, interracial marriages are at an all-time high:

Also rising rapidly, Pew found, is the proportion of Americans who believe mixed-race marriages are a positive force in society. Four in 10 agree interracial unions are good for society, nearly double the 24 percent who said the same just seven years ago. In a similarly striking change, only 14 percent of nonblack Americans say they would object to a close family member marrying a black person; as recently as 1990, 63 percent objected.