“My Name is Mildred Loving”
Lyrics: Shoshana Greenberg
Music: Jeffrey Dennis Smith
Singer: Allyson Kaye Daniel
Presented at Obamarama: Songs for Justice
September 22, 2012
Duplex Cabaret Theatre
“My Name is Mildred Loving” was inspired by a profile of Mildred Loving in the New York Times Magazine section in 2008. Loving had died that year. In 1958, she and her husband were jailed after visiting family in Virginia, where it was against the law for a black person and white person to be married. The resulting court case, Loving v. Virginia, made interracial marriage legal in all states. A year or so before her death, she was approached by a gay rights group to make a statement in favor of gay marriage on the 40th anniversary of the ruling, which is where this song begins.
As writers, we were struck by the simplicity of Mildred’s language and character. She didn’t pursue the court case to make a political statement. She just wanted to live her life. More striking was after years of living the simple life she fought so hard for, she realized the power that her name could hold in making life simpler for others. As marriage equality gains momentum throughout the country, we think it’s important to remember that, like the Lovings, we’re fighting for something simple–the right to live our lives.