WGBH News in partnership with the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism present a "Loving Day" commemoration radio series along with online resources regarding interracial marriage and families

What does the landmark 1967 civil rights decision Loving v. Virginia mean for interracial couples and families today?

The family of Rayna Clay and Dominic Mackay in the yard of their Scituate home. From left: Pamela McCoy (Rayna's mother), Harris, Rayna, London, Miles and Dominic. Photo courtesy of the Mackay family.

Part 2: A Tale of Two Marriages

Interracial Marriage Before and After the Historic Loving Decision

Reported by Sally Jacobs
Produced by Josh Swartz
Edited by Aaron Schachter and Ken Cooper 

Winston Cox and Trudy Kofford were married late on a February afternoon in 1966. She was 22-years-old, a green-eyed dreamer fresh from the hills of Oregon. He was 29, an ambitious doctoral candidate from Jamaica, with a wiry build.

Trudy, who is white, wore a wool dress with a rounded straw hat in honor of her mother, one of a tiny number of family members present for the couple that day. Her father had vowed to disown her if she married Cox, a black man. Minutes before the ceremony began, Trudy's mother leaned over and whispered in Winston's ear.

“The mother, she said, 'Listen, if her daddy ever sees you he'll kill you,’” Winston recalled. “She was very angry when she met me.”

Such opposition to interracial marriage was not uncommon back when Winston and Trudy took the bold step of marrying across racial lines, one year before the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision — Loving v. Virginia — that struck down state laws prohibiting interracial marriage. Fifty years later, some things have decidedly changed while others have definitely not.

Trudy Kofford became Trudy Cox when she married Winston Cox in San Luis Obispo, California, in 1966, one year before the U.S. Supreme Court’s Loving v. Virginia decision. California legalized interracial marriage in 1948. Photo courtesy of Trudy Cox.

Trudy’s mother was present for the wedding ceremony, but her father was not. He said he would disown her for marrying Winston. Photo courtesy of Trudy Cox.

When Rayna found out that she was pregnant with twins, and that one of them was a boy, she decided she didn’t want to know the sex of the other twin. “I was afraid of having black boys,” she said. “I was afraid in this era of tension that we have of having black boys and what that means. Are my children going to be shot when they are walking through their neighborhood with their hoodie up and their earphones in, buying candy?” Photo courtesy of the Mackay family.

Trudy Kofford became Trudy Cox when she married Winston Cox in San Luis Obispo, California, in 1966, one year before the U.S. Supreme Court’s Loving v. Virginia decision. California legalized interracial marriage in 1948. Photo courtesy of Trudy Cox.

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Interracial Marriage