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The Loving Story and Community Discussion

Dr. Barclay Key

Dr. Barclay Key, UALR History Department

Tuesday, Oct. 21 · 6-8 p.m.
Ron Robinson Theater
Moderator: Barclay Key, Ph.D.

Join us for the showing of the film, The Loving Story, followed by a community discussion. The discussion will be led by Dr. Barclay Key, UALR professor of history, whose research includes modern American history, African-American history, southern history, American religious history, and Arkansas history. RSVP NOW.


Historical Background

Election years provide endless fodder for classroom discussions, as the 2000 election did for me when I was teaching history in a rural Alabama high school. We remember 2000 because of the controversial presidential election, but the state of Alabama featured another significant item on its ballot: the repeal of the state’s miscegenation law.

At one time or another, most states prohibited interracial marriages, but Alabama was the only one with the statute still on the books in 2000. Students were curious about the prohibition and its history, but our discussions were educational for me, too. Following one such discussion, a student even returned to class with a note from her pastor, explaining why God forbade interracial marriage. I marveled at the persistence of failed arguments that had been made in various forms for centuries.

In 1958, when Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter wed, 24 states, including Arkansas, still prohibited interracial marriage. In the case of Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court rendered these statutes unconstitutional in 1967. Through oral histories and old video footage, The Loving Story shares the saga of Richard and Mildred’s arrest, exile, and legal case. Viewers will find vivid glimpses into the lives of this rural Virginia couple who, more than anything else, simply wanted to live at home in peace.

~ Barclay Key, Ph.D.
UALR Department of History

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