Loving Day originated with the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia, which invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage. The case was brought by Mildred Loving (née Jeter), a black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man, who first met when she was 11 and he was 17. He was a family friend and over the years they courted. After she became pregnant, they married in Washington, D.C., in 1958, when she was 18. Reportedly, Mildred did not realize that interracial marriage was illegal, and they were arrested a few weeks after they returned to their hometown north of Richmond, Virginia. They pleaded guilty to charges of "cohabiting as man and wife, against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth", and avoided jail time by leaving Virginia and agreeing not to return to the state for 25 years.
The Lovings moved to Washington, D.C., and began legal action by writing to U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. Kennedy referred the case to the American Civil Liberties Union. After the Warren Court unanimously ruled in favor of the young couple, they returned to Virginia, where they lived with their three children. In 1975, Richard Loving died in a car accident. Mildred Loving died May 5, 2008, at the age of 68. Each June 12, the anniversary of the ruling, Loving Day events around the country mark the advances of mixed-race couples.