'Loving Story' shows unlikely civil rights heroes

February 14, 2012 • Entertainment

In this 1960s image released by HBO, Richard Loving and his wife Mildred are shown. The Lovings are the subject of an HBO documentary “The Loving Story,” premiering Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012 at 9pm EST. (AP Photo/HBO, Grey Villet) ONE TIME USE ONLY.

Richard Loving looks out from the Jim Crow past with wary eyes, appearing on the screen with a blond crew cut, plaid work shirt, bad teeth and Southern accent.

“He looked like a redneck,” said Philip Hirschkop, a lawyer who soon recognized his mistake — Loving was actually a pioneer for racial equality.

The white bricklayer from Virginia defied stereotypes and centuries of racist laws when he married Mildred Jeter, who was black and Native American. Convicted of violating a law against interracial marriage, the Lovings fought for their rights and won a landmark 1967 Supreme Court case that struck down such bans nationwide.

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