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Loving v. Virginia
Transcript of Loving v. Virginia
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. The case also represents a tension seen throughout U.S history: the need for authority versus the need to put restrictions on authority when it threatens individual freedoms. Both sides in the Loving case argued for the government intervention, but for different reasons. Divide into 8 groups. Have 4 focus on Virginia’s arguments and the other 4 studying the justification by the Lovings’ lawyers. On June 2, 1958, a white man named Richard Loving and his part-black, part-Cherokee fiancée Mildred Jeter traveled from Caroline County, VA to Washington, D.C. to be married.
At the time, interracial marriage was illegal in 21 states, including Virginia.
Back home two weeks later, the newlyweds were arrested, tried and convicted of the felony crime of "miscegenation."
To avoid a one-year jail sentence, the Lovings agreed to leave the state; they could return to Virginia, but only separately. LOVING V. VIRGINIA In 1967, the year of Loving v. Virginia, 16 states had laws against interracial marriage. Had Barack Obama’s white mother and black father lived in one of those states when they married in 1961, their marriage would have been a felony. Yet the culture of interracial marriage is slow to catch up with legal realities. The 2000 census found only 4.9% of US marriages were interracial. The tension between government power and individual rights has been a defining feature of American democracy. Richard and Mildred Loving felt they had the right, as other Virginia citizens did, to marry and live together as a family within the state. The state said its “racial integrity” law superseded those rights. Background Info The section of the 14th Amendment quoted above is known as the Equal Protection Clause. How do you interpret it?
The clause refers to the protection of life and liberty. What freedoms do you think are inherent within each?What is a privilege? What is a right? How do they differ? For the state of Virginia:
What did it argue should be preserved among its citizens?
To whom did it say the law applied?
Who did it think needed protection from interracial marriage
For the Lovings:
What did their lawyers argue had been violated?
What previous case had created a precedent for striking down Virginia’s law?