January 18, 2018

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Loving Vs. Virginia | SLJ DVD Review

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redstarPOWELL, Patricia Hruby. Loving Vs. Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case. 3 CDs. 3 hrs. Jan. 2017. Dreamscape. $29.99. ISBN 9781520052625.

Gr 8 Up –This year marks the 50th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, the landmark Supreme Court case that struck down laws barring interracial marriage. The couple at the heart of the case—Mildred Jeter, who was black and Native American, and Richard Loving, who was white—were reluctant heroes. They had married legally in 1958 in Washington, DC, but were arrested in Virginia, convicted, and banished from the state. Alternating between Mildred and Richard’s voices, Powell captures the pain of that exile for people whose lives revolved around home and family. She also weaves together a moving love story, throwing into relief the cruelty and absurdity of Virginia’s racist law. The Lovings didn’t set out to make history, but their devotion to each other and their quiet resolve—both of which come through clearly in this telling—enabled them to confront injustice and win. The narration is largely successful, though Adenrele Ojo’s country drawl feels a bit overwrought. VERDICT Accessible and engaging, this intimate account situates the Lovings in the broader sweep of civil rights history and personalizes the struggle against racial discrimination. Timely and timeless.–Erin Hollaway Palmer, Richmond

This review was published in the School Library Journal December 2017 issue.

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