Teens with a vision: organizing an integrated prom

LaRuelist Report|Jeannine LaRue

“We live in rural south Georgia, where not too many things change. Well, as a group of adamant high school seniors, we want to make a difference in our community. For the first time in the history of our county, we plan to have an integrated prom.”

So, what would you think if you saw the above description in print?  Perhaps, you’d think this quote was written around 1955, ‘60’s…maybe even as late as the ‘70’s.

Well, this quote comIntegrated Prom '13es right out of the description of a Facebook page created April 3, 2013 by progressive-thinking students at Wilcox High School in Wilcox County, Georgia.  Yes, these brave youngsters of diverse backgrounds have drawn the line in the sand and have declared to have an integrated prom this year.  In fact, that’s exactly what the name of their Facebook page is…Integrated Prom…which has over 21,000 likes.

In the past, the school district hasn’t funded proms but has left it up to parents.  Hence, White parents have always held proms for their children and Black parents have done the same.  Oddly enough, the school does have an integrated homecoming court.  But, even after Quanesha Wallace was elected Homecoming Queen, she was prohibited from attending the White prom; hence they had separate photos and separate celebrations as King and Queen.

Four high school seniors are leading the effort to organize, fund, and hold an integrated prom ending the practice of classmates going their segregated ways on such a milestone evening of their high school experience.  Their Facebook page is soliciting contributions and apparently doing it successfully.  These teenagers have booked their hall, made decorations, hired a DJ, and made their promotional materials. Already, over half of all of the White students have signed on to attend the integrated prom that is scheduled to occur on April 27th.

This week, the State NAACP leadership of Georgia appeared before the school board at its work session calling on the officials to stop this practice of segregated proms.  While board members did issue a resolution supporting the teens who are organizing the integrated prom, officials stopped short of endorsing an integrated prom moving forward.  Board members proclaimed that they will look into the matter and determine if a prom attended by all the seniors is feasible moving forward.

So in two weeks, these brave students share an historic moment…teaching adults yet again what kind of world they want to live.  Let’s light a candle that April 27th is fun night…a safe night and their giant leap of faith this year will be the start of things to come.


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