When I first watched Morgan Freeman’s “Prom Night in Mississippi” in 2009, it was hard to digest that segregated proms continued to exist in some parts of our country. ABC News reports that Wilcox County High School in Rochelle, GA has finally joined the rest of the country in the 21st century and is hosting its first integrated prom. Since 1971, the students’ parents could sponsor segregated invitation-only proms — literally, one for only Black students and another for White students.
In 2013, the students held their own integrated prom. A group of students of both races started a Facebook page to raise money that would allow them to attend prom together. They eventually raised enough money to rent a ballroom and buy gift bags for the attendees and nearly half of the student body registered to attend. In addition, the NAACP’s Georgia chapter supported the students’ prom and had even asked the Wilcox school board to consider sponsoring a prom in the future. We guess Wilcox had a change of heart this year.
Still, students reveal that many of the teachers remain unsupportive. Mareshia Rucker told ABC News:
“I’m absolutely sure that there are teachers that are still in the system right now that are at my school and they still don’t want an integrated prom.”
There will always be small-minded people who fear change, but what we don’t get is the fact that these students attend classes, eat lunch, and sit in assemblies together all year long and prom is the only event where race is a dividing factor? Furthermore, many of these students will go on to universities and colleges where it may not be as easy to only associate with those who look like you. We’re glad to see the students clearly have more sense than the school administration. Prom should be a time to get fly and flashy and have fun with your friends. Not a place where people still have to fight for their civil right to party together.