Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia

Co-Sponsored Event: Created Equal? The Loving Story: Who Decides Who Marries Whom

Thursday, March 12, 2015, 67:30 p.m.
Historical Society of Pennsylvania
1300 Locust Street, Philadelphia
Admission Free

In this program of the Created Equal? series, we will view clips from The Loving Story and consider legal battles over the question of who can get married and who gets to decide.

The documentary explores the experiences of Mildred and Richard Loving. While they knew it was technically illegal for them to live as a married couple in Virginia – because she was of African American and Native American descent and he was white –  they never expected to be woken up in their bedroom and arrested one night in 1958. The documentary brings to life the Lovings’ marriage and the legal battle that followed through little-known filmed interviews and photographs shot for Life magazine.

Regina Austin, William A. Schnader Professor of Law and Director, Penn Program on Documentaries & the Law, will  provide context and discuss the precedent set by this case for the recent state and federal court battles over gay marriage.  Dr. Charlene Mires, Associate Professor of History at Rutgers University-Camden,  director of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities, and  editor of the Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia will then facilitate discussion.


About Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the passage of 13th Amendment,, HSP has partnered with the African American Museum in Philadelphia, the National Constitution Center, the Philadelphia History Museum, and the Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia to host screenings of four documentaries featuring riveting new footage illustrating the history of civil rights in America.

The documentaries are part of Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle, a powerful film set produced with NEH support. Each film tells remarkable stories of individuals who challenged the social and legal status quo of deeply rooted institutions, from slavery to segregation.  These programs offer a series of lectures, discussion forums, and scholarly presentations in addition to the screenings.

The documentaries, The AbolitionistsSlavery by Another NameThe Loving Story, and Freedom Riders, include dramatic scenes of incidents in the 150-year effort to achieve equal rights for all. Freedom Riders received an Emmy in 2012, and The Loving Story and The Abolitionists have been nominated for Emmys in 2013. 


Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle is made possible through a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, as part of its Bridging Cultures initiative, in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

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