Director of Movie Based on Landmark Case About Interracial Marriage Has Message for Today's Bigots
In 1958, Richard and Mildred Loving were arrested in Virginia because they had secretly gotten married in Washington. Charged for violating Virginia's Racial Integrity Act of 1924, which prohibited marriage between whites and non-whites, the Loving v. Virginia case would quickly become the subject of national scrutiny.
The Lovings pleaded guilty and served one year sentences. But it took nearly a decade for the Supreme Court to overturn their convictions. On June 12, 1967, SCOTUS ruled that "Virginia's anti-miscegenation statute violated both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment." Half a century later, the couple's story is the subject of a major motion picture, directed by Jeff Nichols, who believes that one step toward solving America's persistent racism is understanding our existing economic interdependence.
"You know I live in Texas now and there's all this talk of immigration. 'Let's round up all the immigrants and get them out.' That's an absurd idea. If you removed the Mexican immigrants from Texas, the economy would collapse and I think that's an important thing to recognize." Nichols said at the Cannes Film Festival.
The Arkansas-based filmmaker also reiterated a message from his father about the American south in the 1950's.
"Yes, there was segregation and yes, it was not good, but you have to understand that we were so poor that we were all codependent on one another. We needed one another in order to bring crops in; just in order to function. There was so much evil out of that time that we shouldn't diminish," Nichols relayed.
According to Rolling Stone's Peter Travers, in his review of "Midnight Special," "Nichols, 37, already ranks with the best American directors of his generation."
"Loving" hits theaters November 4.