In 2013, the notion of segregation and separatism seems farfetched and something more suited for 1913. But in Wilcox, GA., the students at Wilcox County High School participated in the very first fully integrated prom this past weekend. The first EVER in the school’s 40 year history!
Spearheaded by a group of seniors and financed through various fundraising and contributions from parents and students, a fully integrated prom was proposed. As in years past, the school has made it a policy to not organize or sponsor any prom activities, virtually co-signing the idea of two separate dances – one for white students and one for black students. Most of the students having attended school and been friends since 4th grade did not want to not celebrate separately or be forced to choose one dance over the other. Furthermore, the black students stated if they attempted to attend the white only dance, the police would have been called and they would have been escorted away, as what happened to a bi-racial student the prior year.
Garnering national attention and the backing of the Georgia NAACP, the students have made a monumental movement forward in solidifying their community and future generations. What’s amazing, and sad at the same time, is that it took kids to break down a barrier that’s been in place since the school’s existence. One would think, hope even, that the parents, the school board, the community itself, would do away with such archaic ideologies and encourage and influence their young adults to embrace and engage in an ever-evolving world. Instead, it’s the young adults who are the pace-setters and catalyst for change. Kudos to them!
Everyone wasn’t in agreement and there was still a separate, segregated prom dance, just like homecoming continues to be segregated. The majority of the students however, were overjoyed to share their prom night and celebrate together. It’s warming to see their innocent excitement and if for only one night, see them collectively embracing each other and standing strong for their beliefs.
They continue to receive donations and support from around the country and are passing the torch to the underclassmen that will follow and continue a new tradition. Many of us probably take such things for granted and have friends from all ethnicities of life who we congregate freely with in private and in public. But to some, this is as foreign as speaking another language or living halfway across the planet in a foreign land. As much as we would like to these sort of things no longer exist in today’s society, it still rears it’s ugly head in the most unlikely facets of our society.
Change isn’t always looked upon as a good thing, but change is necessary for growth.