Review of Finding a Way Home: Mildred and Richard Loving and the Fight for Marriage Equality

Finding a Way Home: Mildred and Richard Loving and the Fight for Marriage Equality
by Larry Dane Brimner
Middle School, High School    Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills & Kane    112 pp.    g
11/20    978-1-62979-751-9    $18.99
e-book ed.  978-1-63592-450-3    $11.99

Brimner (Twelve Days in May, rev. 1/17) presents another compelling story of civil rights history. Richard Loving, a white man, and Mildred Jeter, a woman of African and Native ancestry, loved each other and wanted to get married. But that was against the law in Virginia in the 1960s. Brimner weaves together their personal stories — their courtship, marriage, and family life; their arrest in Virginia, subsequent move to Washington, DC, and move back in defiance of parole — with the larger legacy of prejudice and bigotry in the Jim Crow South. He provides a brief primer on the constitutional challenges their case presented, as it wound its way, slowly but surely, through the federal court system, culminating with the Supreme Court ruling in favor of the Lovings in 1967. The book is enhanced by black-and-white photographs throughout; candid shots of Richard and Mildred are particularly effective, characterizing the couple’s relationship as an especially tender and affectionate one. A final chapter explains how this case set the stage for the marriage equality activism at the turn of the twenty-first century that enabled LGBTQ people to marry whom they wish. Recent books about this case include a picture book, The Case for Loving (rev. 5/15) by Selina Alko and Sean Qualls, and a “documentary novel” in verse, Loving vs. Virginia (rev. 1/17) by Patricia Hruby Powell and Shadra Strickland, so this nonfiction account is a welcome addition. A bibliography, source notes, and index are appended.

From the January/February 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Jonathan Hunt
Jonathan Hunt is the coordinator of library media services at the San Diego County Office of Education.

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