The Lovings is an intimate portrait that documents the extraordinary love story of Mildred and Richard Loving, an interracial couple in 1950s America whose powerful bond helped to change history forever.
Mildred, a woman of African American and Native American descent and Richard, a white man, were arrested in July 1958 for the crime of interracial marriage, prohibited under Virginia state law. Exiled to Washington, DC, they fought to bring their case to the US Supreme Court.
Knowledge of their struggle spread across the nation and in the spring of 1965, Life magazine photojournalist Grey Villet spent a few weeks documenting the Lovings and their family and friends as they went about their lives in the midst of their trial Loving v. Virginia – the landmark US civil rights case that, in a unanimous decision, ultimately ended the prohibition of interracial marriage in 1967.
Now the series is available in a new book, The Lovings: An Intimate Portrait, courtesy of Princeton Architectural Press, written by Barbara Villet with photographs by Grey Villet and foreword by Stephen Crowley.
Barbara is an author and journalist who was a photo editor at Life and collaborated on many of Grey's projects. A celebrated, award-winning photojournalist for Life magazine, Grey shot for publications in his native South Africa, England and the United States, covering breaking news, sports, presidential politics and entertainment, and documenting the midcentury conflicts of the American South, Cuba and the Middle East.
One of photojournalism's most distinguished practitioners, Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Crowley of the New York Times credits the influence of a Grey Villet Life essay with his decision, at age nine, to become a photographer. If you want to own a piece of history, you can buy the book today.
All images courtesy of Princeton Architectural Press, © Grey Villet, 1965