Author(s): Barbara Villet
In June 1958, Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving, a couple from a small town in northeastern Virginia, got married. She was of African-American and Cherokee descent, and he was white, making their cohabitation as husband and wife a crime under Virginia's Racial Integrity Act of 1924. Soon after, an anonymous tip lead to their arrest by the Carolina County sheriff, who pulled them out of their bed one night as they were sleeping. They pled guilty and were convicted in 1959 and given a suspended twenty-five-year sentence on the condition that they leave the state. Their story gained national attention, and Grey Villet, a photographer for Life magazine, spent two weeks with them as they lived in exile, under the radar of the authorities and produced a beautifully heartrending document of their relationship, family and community.
Barbara Villet is an author and journalist who was a photo editor at Life and collaborated on many of Mr. Villet's projects and now manages his estate.