In recognition of Black History Month, Cox Communications, HBO and Manship Theatre will host Friday a reception and a special screening of the HBO documentary film “The Loving Story,” which chronicles the groundbreaking civil rights case which struck down laws against interracial marriage.

The event will be held at the Manship Theatre, Shaw Center for the Arts, 100 Lafayette St. The reception will begin at 5:30 p.m. and the screening at 6:30 p.m.

The event is free to the public, but attendees must register by emailing

Susie Ruth Powel, a writer and lawyer associated with the film, and a panel of local speakers will participate in a special question and answer session following the screening.

Produced and directed by Nancy Buirski, the documentary recounts the story of Mildred and Richard Loving, who fell in and love and decided to marry. Because she was part-black and part-Native American, and he was white, their marriage was declared illegal in 1958 by their home state of Virginia. But the Lovings fought back and ultimately changed history through a watershed Supreme Court case that overturned bans on interracial marriage in 16 states.

The film debuts on HBO on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14.

“The story of Mildred and Richard Loving is inspiring, uplifting and important because of the national legal precedent it set,” Jacqui Vines, senior vice president and general manager of Cox Louisiana, said in a news release.

The panel after the screening will include Stanley Halpin, endowed professor of public law at the Southern University Law Center and a civil rights activist familiar with the Loving case and Louisiana’s civil rights struggles concerning interracial marriages and D’Seante Parks, a political communications major at LSU’s Manship School of Journalism. Parks is the daughter of an interracial couple.

The panel will be moderated by Rachel Emanuel, director of communications and development support for the Southern University Law Center.