Folks who confuse life in the 1950s with “Leave It to Beaver” should not miss the powerful and moving documentary “The Loving Story” (8 p.m., HBO).
In 1958, construction worker Richard Loving married his sweetheart, Mildred. Five weeks later, they were arrested. At the time, Virginia was one of 16 states that forbid marriage between white people and, to use the terminology of the time, “colored.” Richard was white. Mildred was of black and American Indian extraction. After a short time in jail, they were exiled from the commonwealth.
The Lovings moved to Washington, D.C., but disliked its city ways. In 1963, the shy and apolitical Mildred sent a letter to then U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. Moved by their plight, Kennedy suggested they contact the American Civil Liberties Union.
For nearly four years, the ACLU helped the Lovings take their case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. On June 12, 1967, the court struck down state anti-miscegenation laws, making the Lovings’ marriage finally legitimate in the eyes of their beloved Virginia.
Vintage film stocks give “The Loving Story” an antique feel. But some issues still reverberate, and some of the arguments have a familiar ring. The people shown in the film who believed the Lovings belonged in jail were convinced they had God on their side and were defending America and civilization from unnatural acts that would lead to their decay and decline.
Tonight’s other highlights
• “Glee” (7 p.m., Fox) celebrates silly love songs. What’s wrong with that?
• Best in Show emerges on the conclusion of the 136th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show (7 p.m., USA).
• No strings attached on “New Girl” (8 p.m., Fox).
• Uptight and out of sight on “The River” (8 p.m., ABC).
• Former gang members work to prevent urban violence on “The Interrupters” on “Frontline” (8 p.m., PBS).
• Jimmy’s ruse on “Raising Hope” (8:30 p.m., Fox).
• A witness vanishes on “Unforgettable” (9 p.m., CBS).
• Searching for the stork on “Parenthood” (9 p.m., NBC).
• A victim turns up in a freezer on “Body of Proof” (9 p.m., ABC).
• Raylan’s gutsy move on “Justified” (9 p.m., FX).