It’s been 50 years since Mildred and Richard Lovings’ fight for interracial marriage took them all the way to Supreme Court. To commemorate their experience, I wanted to talk to my parents, Rodney and Susan Edwards, who are also an interracial couple. Rodney is Black and Susan is White.
My parents were married in 1982, 15 years after the Supreme Court Case Virginia v. Loving. But although they are an interracial couple like the Lovings, they were joined under very different circumstances. The late Reverend Sun Myung Moon, who headed up the controversial Unification Church, matched them in 1982 along with 2,075 other couples in a ceremony at Madison Square Garden. Some call the Unification Church a cult – and it is controversial largely because of the mass weddings it performed in the 70s and 80s. But what many people don’t know is that part of the rationale for these weddings was to create interracial families.
My parents are still together 35 years later. But the number of Unification Church members has dwindled to a trickle – especially since the founder died in 2012. Still, a church representative estimated that 70 percent of the couples that were matched in Madison Square Garden with my parents are still together – even if they may not be in the church. The tri-state area has the highest concentration of UC members in the country: Out of the 16,000 American members, 2,000 live in New York State alone, and of that, 600 are in the city.