This past weekend, a high school in rural Georgia held its first racially integrated prom, ever. That is not a misprint.
While the calendar year is clearly 2013, Wilcox County High School in tiny Rochelle, Ga. upheld a longstanding tradition of holding separate prom events for its Black and White students. Thanks to the efforts of two Black and two White female students, the school shattered the archaic tradition and shifted the school’s policy.
Last Saturday (April 27), the Cordele Community Clubhouse in Crisp County hosted the historic event with DJs playing the event coming from as far away as Atlanta and Texas in support. The idea for the prom was sparked by Wilcox County senior Mareshia Rucker and her friends Stephanie Sinnott, Keela Bloodworth and Quanesha Wallace.
The turnout was high and according to local reports, many White students opted out of attending the earlier “Whites Only” prom held the week prior to join the integrated festivities. Many students, both Black and White, offered their opinion in an on-air report from local NBC affiliate WMGT-41.
“How can we hang out in school and with sport but we can’t have prom together, that makes absolutely no sense,” said one student to WMGT.
Wilcox County Schools have never sponsored prom events, leaving the planning up to parents and the community. Wayne McGinty, a City Council Member, told the New York Times before the prom that the national media attention over the proms was largely unnecessary. “This whole issue has been blown out of proportion,” said McGinty. “Nobody had a problem with having two proms until it got all this publicity.”
A Facebook page launched by Rucker and her friends features dozens of pictures of last week’s event. The group put the page up earlier this month in hopes to raise donations to sponsor the prom. The page received so many donations, there was enough money left over to fund scholarships.
Wilcox County Schools has announced that it sponsor an integrated prom in 2014.
Watch WMGT’s report in the video below. Hit the following pages for pictures of the prom.