It’s easy to look around us, especially nowadays, and believe that the world is in a terrible state and that hatred and intolerance are growing. But in the end, love always wins.
It might move slowly and it might move subtly. But if you look with the right eyes or look back over the time that has passed, you’ll find that love and tolerance are, in fact, growing.
Intolerance is what kept Howard Foster and Myra Clark apart for more than 45 years, but love eventually found its way. The two started dating while they were students at West High School in Columbus, Ohio in 1967. They eventually fell in love but Howard, who is black, broke up with Myra, who is white, because he was scared that racism wouldn’t allow their love to peacefully exist.
There were regular demonstrations related to race on their high school grounds where the Ku Klux Klan would often try to recruit members.
“Society is not going to let us be happy,” he told her. “I just figured she wasn’t going to be happy.”
According to The Columbia Dispatch, the couple graduated from house school but broke up after Howard experienced racism from his college professors since he was the only black person to attend the Columbus Technical Institute.
“It didn’t matter how well I did the project, it was always a D,” he said of one professor’s 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. Society wasn’t going to let us be together and she be happy. She’d get tired of the stares. I just thought it was unfair to her. Her happiness was the most important thing.”
After that difficult conversation, they hugged for one last time and walked away.
“Then a block away, we both turned around at the same time and waved. I really think that wave was, I’ll see you later,” Myra told WSYX/WTTE, according to ABC 6.
Howard said the decision broke his heart.
“I remember just sitting in my car and crying because it was not an easy decision. I really did love her,” Howard said.
Several decades had passed since that difficult moment but Howard and Myra would often think of each other throughout their separation.
“I wondered what would my life be like with her. What would it be like if we had stayed together?” Howard recalls.
Howard eventually got married but later divorced. Myra was never wed. The two eventually reconnected through a friend in 2013 and they were able to pick up where they left off.
They were immediately drawn to each other and held hands across a picnic table at Sharon Woods Metro Park on their first date.
It was as if they had never been apart.
“For me, the fact that I was sitting there holding her hands is something that I thought would never happen,” said Howard. “And I was not letting her go.”
Now, the times were more tolerant and they could be together peacefully. Interracial marriage was made legal in 1967 when the Supreme Court decided Loving vs. Virginia after an interracial couple Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving sued the state of Virginia over a law that prohibited their marriage.
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While we still have work to do when it comes to racism and tolerance, a lot has changed for the better in America since then.
“Racism is in the minority,” Howard said.
It wasn’t long before the two got hitched on Aug. 1, 2015. And this time their union was celebrated. Their story was featured in both The New York Times and The Columbia Dispatch.
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