It sounds like a fairy tale. But this love story is probably one of the best you’ll ever hear. Let’s start with a little background.
It’s not a nice topic to talk about. But it does have to be spoken about if only to ensure we don’t continue to make the same mistakes over and over.
Loving vs. Virginia
It hasn’t really been that long since the Supreme Court case Loving vs. Virginia made interracial marriage legal. The case was decided in 1967 after Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving, an interracial couple, sued Virginia, which had laws prohibiting marriages like theirs. It was that same year that Howard Andrew Foster (Andrew to his family) and Myra Clark first began dating in high school. They quickly fell in love, but unfortunately, at that time, it was still not okay for a black man and a white woman to be together. Although it was legal, it was still very much frowned upon by society.
High School Sweethearts
They were together for the remaining two years of high school before going off to college. It was at college that Foster fully understood the implications their relationship would have on the rest of their lives. As the only black person attending Columbus Technical Institute, now Columbus State Community College, Foster faced racism from his professors. ‘It didn’t matter how well I did the project, it was always a D,’ he told the Washington Times, of one class. ‘I had never experienced that type of racism, that way. I said, ‘It’s just not going to be good.’ I really thought about her.’ (1)
Myra recalls the day Foster broke it off. ‘He told me that he didn’t think we should see each other because society wasn’t going to let us be happy.’ They hugged and walked away from each other. In something that seems like it comes from a romance movie, they both turned back at the same time to wave goodbye to each other. ‘I think we were saying, “See you later.”’ says Myra of the serendipitous wave. (2)
Though they each had their own lives, they thought of each other often. Andrew said that he ‘wondered what [his] life would have been like with [Myra]’, pondering ‘what would we be like if we had stayed together?’ It wasn’t until 2013 that they met again. During her time working at Mount Carmel Hospice, Myra met a nurse whose daughter was married to Andrew’s son. They eventually reconnected on Labor Day weekend of 2013 and immediately fell back in love. They were engaged by 2014 and married August 1 the following year, almost four decades after their initial first date. (2)(5) It may have taken decades to come to fruition, but they finally got their high school sweetheart happy ending.
Foster told ABC that once they reconnected he was never going to lose her again, saying ‘For me, the fact that I was sitting there holding her hand, was something that I never thought would ever happen. And I was not letting her go.’
‘We’re having a lot of fun with each other and our families.’ says Myra in a comment on a photograph of the pair on her facebook page. (3)
Society has come a long way since Loving v Virginia. Findings from Gallup show that 87% of Americans approved of interracial marriage in 2013, as opposed to 4% in 1958. (4) While we still have a long way to go, stories like these reinforce that love knows no bounds, and the color of someone’s skin doesn’t dictate their worth.