History was made at a high school in rural Georgia this past weekend. Wilcox County High School held the school’s first, racially integrated prom.
In the past, the county has hosted separate proms and homecoming dances for Black and White students, which was legal because funding comes from private supporters and not the school. The county’s only high school has a student body of 380, of those students 171 are African American.
Student Mareshia Rucker and two other friends worked together to form the Wilcox County Integrated Prom Committee. The committee consisted of ten racially diverse student organizers.
The committee received donations for the prom through their “Integrated Prom” Facebook page. The page has more than 27,000 fans.
“It has made a lot of people realize that if you stand up for what’s right then nothing but positivity will come out of it,” says Rucker.
All members of the committee attended the prom, which was held at a community center in Cordele, Ga.
“It was wonderful. I was completely amazed. Everyone had fun. Initially I was worried about how many people would come but the turnout was better than expected.”
Despite the students’ effort to create one single prom, the all-White prom took place two weeks ago.
“It’s one class so there should be one prom,” said Ethan Rountree, 18, who is White, and also on the committee. “It shouldn’t be about race or racism. We’ve just a group of seniors who want to spend their last year and last moments together as one body.”
Although the committee sent out invites to all of the high school’s officials, only two members attended. Assistant principal Kenneth Daniels and Raymond Johnson, a member of the school board, who are also the school’s only African-American officials are the only ones who showed up.
Due to recent publicity, the school’s principal posted a statement on the Wilcox County High School website saying they “will place the 2014 prom on its agenda for its next meeting.”