For over 40 years, students at Wilcox County High School, in Rochelle, Ga have been attending a segregated prom. One prom for the white students, and one for the black students were hosted by parents of each race. Parents supported the segregation by planning, paying for and continuing this age-old, hometown tradition. I like to call it “white prom” and “black prom” let’s be honest folks, we need not beat around the bush.
Surprisingly, the school board has avoided the situation all together, basically washing their hands of being either right or wrong and sitting by while the parents took over.
Are the parents to blame? Does this make the school innocent? Who’s really in charge here?
Thankfully, and finally, students at Wilcox County High School, stepped up where their school board administrators, local businesses, and even parents have failed. Standing up out of the ignorance of segregation and fighting for their right to end what is more than an antiquated tradition and clearly racism. Four girls, 2 African American and 2 Caucasian created a Facebook page, asking for support and donations to host their own, independent prom.
“We were doing that so we could get the word out, so that some people would be able to donate and help us out with what we were doing,” said senior Mareshia Rucker.
The night of the prom, nearly half of the school’s student body were in attendence at Wilcox County High School’s first integrated prom in 2013… unfortunately, they aren’t the only place in our country with this same mindset.
CNN.com reports: “Wilcox County is not the only place with a racially segregated prom, nor is it the only one that’s attracted widespread attention in recent years. In the 2009 documentary “Prom Night in Mississippi,” director Paul Saltzman followed the preparations for the first integrated prom in Charleston, Mississippi. Actor Morgan Freeman, a native of the area, offered in 1997 to cover the cost if the school board would hold an integrated prom, but the offer wasn’t accepted till 2008.”
While this prom was a great success, there were still students and parents in opposition of the prom, and as a result “white prom” was held again this year. We can hope that this nation learns from this story and takes steps in the direction towards racial equality. If nothing else, these intelligent, amazing teenagers have inspired others, made history, and stood up for what they believe in. Who says children can’t teach adults?!?
Check out Integrated Prom’s Facebook page to see some pretty amazing pictures that I wanted to use for this post but didn’t have permission to, and support what they are doing, whether it is with prayers and words of kindness or donations.
What are your thoughts on this issue?? Who do you think is to blame? But even better still, how can WE change this?