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This love letter about an interracial couple was an inspiration for me

By Trinity Mahaffey | Arts Angle Vantage Reporter

Jeffersontown High School, Class of 2025


“I’m gonna miss this place, my first home. My only home. Our first home,” says Mildred Loving to her new husband, Richard. “I’m not gonna cry. I am not gonna cry. Not today.”


Nemuna Ceesay and Shane Kenyon in “Loving and Loving” at Actors Theatre of Louisville. Photo by Yunier Ramirez and Actors Theatre of Louisville.

Mildred and Richard are leaving Virginia in 1959, the year after they were married, being told by a judge that they can’t come back for 25 years. It’s a scene in the play “Loving and Loving.” You can feel how heartbroken she is to leave everything she’s known. But she tries to stay strong. This is the only way she and Richard can be together.


I saw “Loving and Loving” in early February at Actors Theatre of Louisville. It ran from Feb. 7 through 18. The play charts the couple behind the U.S. Supreme Court case .


But, if you were to ask me before then, “Who are the Lovings?” I would’ve told you, “I don’t know.”


The play taught me about the Lovings, and how their courageous love for each other helped legalized interracial marriage in the US. This was eye opening to me as a biracial kid. It has made me appreciate what others have gone through for me and many others like me. Their journeys and others like them make me proud to be multiracial.


I’ve always known my mother is white and my father is Black, and I was different compared to some other kids and families. Around the age of five to seven years old, I first remember fully understanding this difference.


Shane Kenyon and Nemuna Ceesay in “Loving and Loving” at Actors Theatre of Louisville. Photo by Yunier Ramirez and Actors Theatre of Louisville.

It was summer, I was running around on the playground, and I heard a girl yell from her window telling me how I was adopted. I was upset and ran to my mom asking her if it was true. To be fair, I don’t look similar to my mom at all, but the girl knew I wasn’t adopted. She kept telling me this for weeks and I would go crying to my mom asking, “Am I adopted?!” a million times. That’s just one of the times where I felt I didn’t fit in on my white or Black side.


Many biracial people go through the What am-I? identity crisis. In a scene in “Loving and Loving,” the couple’s son (Morgan Anita Wood) is curled up next to his mom, Mildred Loving (Nemuna Ceesay), and asks, “If I’m not yellow, then what am I?” I shivered during this scene recalling how I felt being called adopted, and other experiences.


Mildred and Richard Loving (Shane Kenyon) mention how people look at them and their kids and say sly comments. Not only did the Lovings go through this during the ‘60’s, but so did my mom and her Black boyfriend in the ‘90’s in Alabama. My mom received threats for having two biracial kids in the south and moved up to Kentucky for a safer place to live. This was similar to Mildred and Richard wanting to move out of D.C. back home close to family.


Family and home were the topics many people touched upon during interviews that were part of the play. In videotaped interviews, multiracial people in the Louisville area shared their ideas of home. Althea Allen Dryden said, “home has always been the place that I created on my own.” Dryden isn’t from Kentucky same as my mom, but they both found ways to create a home for themselves. She has worked ten years in the nonprofit industry and is program director Louisville Story Program. Another interviewee, Bryan Warren, executive director for Educational Justice, is not from Louisville, but has grown a community here for the past 23 years and says “Louisville’s home now.”


These histories and the Loving’s history taught me how different and similar we can be. I got to see how being an interracial couple and having a mixed family was during the ‘50’s and ‘60’s. It also showed people outside of the biracial community this important history.


Trinity Mahaffey, a Jeffersontown High School junior, sings in her school’s choir, Bella Voce. Trinity is in her school’s Academies of Louisville program studying under its health pathway and is a President of Health Occupations Students of America. She has experience in dance and theater and sometimes holds a one-person show in her room. Trinity wants to keep being involved with the performing arts and sharing the magic of theater.


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