The Fort Scott National Historic Site gave members of the community an opportunity to learn about a portion of history Saturday that many of the participants admitted they had never heard of before.
The fort hosted a showing of a documentary, the first of three videos to be shown at the site this year in honor of its centennial celebration, highlighting the story of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple who lived in Virginia during the late 1950s.
The Loving Story told of how the young couple was arrested a short while after they got married in 1958. The couple was charged with a felony and was given a suspended sentence that banished them from the state of Virginia, even being arrested again when they returned to visit their families.
About five years later, the couple from a rural area of Virginia took their case to the justice system until it came before the United States Supreme Court in 1967. The justices unanimously decided that marriage is a fundamental right and should be the right of the individual and not infringed on by the state when it comes to race.
“I think it very impressive that two simple people…had the backbone to see this through,” park ranger Bill Fischer said.
After watching the documentary on the Loving v. Virginia case, which led to other states removing bans on interracial marriages, the participants at the fort took part in a discussion guided by University of Kansas professor Joo Ok Kim.
Some of the discussion points included how they personally connected with the story—including one college student who said he was born of an interracial marriage, why the case is so little known and how the case impacts current events and lives.
The next video at the fort will be shown Saturday, April 23, on the topic of the freedom riders during the civil rights movement.