'It's Hard Not to Love Her' On Loving Day, One Virginia Couple's Story

Jun 12, 2017


Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and Virginia First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe during an unveiling of a new historical marker honoring Richard and Mildred Loving.
Credit Mallory Noe-Payne

Virginia police once threw Richard and Mildred Loving into jail. She was black and he was white, and they had gotten married. It was 1958, and in Virginia that was against the law. Monday marks 50 years since the Loving’s won a case before the Supreme Court and Virginia law was overturned.


Another Virginia couple, Charlie and Marcia Russell, traveled to Richmond Monday to honor the Lovings.


The Russells started dating just one year after the Loving case was decided. They were college students in Indiana.

Charlie: It was really challenging for our relationship, people made the assumption that because she was dating a black guy that she obviously was promiscuous.


Marcia: People who knew us knew differently. But people were driving by in their cars and yelling and screaming and throwing things at us.


Charlie: Those kinds of events really frightened her. And as much as we loved each other the thought of having to spend our lives like that was too much for her. And so she ran, broke my heart.


Marcia moved to Virginia and life went on -- marriages, children, divorce. For years they wrote Christmas cards to one another. Then 25 years after they first split, Marcia and Charlie got married.


Marcia: He’s just a really supportive person and he knows me and I’m okay.


Charlie: It’s hard not to love her. She’s genuine kind, she has a big heart.


Marcia: But love, you know, you don’t really choose love. It kind of just jumps out and chooses you. We’re not trying to be political, we’re just trying to have a relationship with each other. That’s all.


The Russells celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary last year.


This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association