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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.
Their lives are explored in a new documentary, “The Loving Story,” which premieres Tuesday on HBO.
Today, there are more than 4 million “mixed marriages” in the United States, and roughly one in seven new marriages are between people of different ethnicities. But in 1958, when the Lovings’ marriage was ruled illegal and they were banished from their native Virginia, 21 states outlawed interracial unions.

“The Loving Story” details the couple’s nine-year battle to live in Virginia as man and wife. Using evocative photographs, newly unearthed footage and interviews with the Lovings’ daughter and lawyers, the film reveals the power of love to overcome bigotry.