My new Erin Condren planner has a small square each week that encourages me to think of what I’m thankful for. It’s simply labeled “Thankful Thought.” While most educators might be frustrated with lack of space in a building that houses more students than it can accommodate, I’ve recently experienced a renewed joy with the relocation of a creative writing class to our library space. Each day, they begin class with DIR. On days when I can afford to spare ten minutes, I join these students in their reading. Truth be told, they are treasured moments for which I am thankful.
The past few days during DIR, I’ve been reading Patricia Hruby Powell’s recently released Loving vs. Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case. It is the story of Richard & Mildred Loving and their fight for the legality of interracial marriage. I first became aware of their story a few years ago when I came across the picturebook A Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage. The more times I encounter this couple, the more emotion I feel.
Loving vs. Virginia is written in verse and includes illustrations by Shadra Strickland. The book is interesting in that it also includes artifacts and timelines pertinent to the time period. The author’s decision to take creative license to tell the story is evident. Combining fact and sentiment, Powell weaves together a documentary novel that makes the reader appreciate the Loving’s love for each other.
Today after reading, students had to respond to the following journal prompt post-DIR: Select what you consider the most important episode (moment) in the work. Explain what happens, why you think it is important to the section, your reaction to the episode and why you react this way.
I feel the most important episode is Mildred’s phone calls and letters to her lawyers at the ACLU. Quite some time has passed since the Lovings expected to hear whether or not there has been progress with their case. Mildred’s actions are important because they signify her quiet strength and persistence in pursuing her civil rights. My reaction to this is one of gratitude. I have never had to walk in the Lovings’s shoes. I cannot exactly feel how they felt to endure this experience. But I am thankful for their courage and commitment to fight to legalize interracial marriage. My heart is thankful because of someone’s desire to stand up for not only themselves, but others as well.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Loving vs. Virginia. I encourage you to take a look back at the Lovings’s story. Loving vs. Virginia is an easy read, yet with pertinent facts helping to shape the time period in readers’ minds. The Case for Loving is absolutely stunning and would certainly pair well if looking for a different telling of this landmark case. Last but certainly not least, SEE. THE. MOVIE. Loving—released at the end of last year—is such a poignant film and does not disappoint.