Biography and autobiography intertwine in this account of the landmark case of Loving v. Virginia.
Richard Loving, pale-skinned and vulnerable to sunburn, and Mildred Jeter, a brown-skinned woman of African-American and Cherokee descent, fell in love in 1958. But in the state of Virginia, miscegenation was illegal and punishable by imprisonment. They traveled to Washington, D.C., to marry legally, but when they returned and moved in together, the local police arrested and jailed them. This story makes palatable for young readers a painful, personal and true story of the injustices interracial couples suffered as recently as 60 years ago. Alko and Qualls reveal the double-layered nature of this story with a photograph of themselves; this was the perfect story for a collaboration since their journey echoes the Lovings’. In the backmatter, Alko cites the current statistics on gay marriage and hopes that “there will soon come a time when all people who love each other have the same rights as Sean and I have.” The “Suggestions for Further Reading” mentions both earlier books in the same tradition, such as Arnold Adoff and Emily Arnold McCully’s Black Is Brown Is Tan (1973, 2002), and contemporary ones that detail other civil rights struggles.
Despite the gentle way this book unfolds, the language and images deal a blow to racist thinking and just might inspire the next generation of young civil rights activists. (artists’ note, sources) (Informational picture book. 4-9)