The Days of Segregated Proms are Numbered (Finally)

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“We live in rural south Georgia, where not too many things change. … 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.”

Unfortunately, this is not a quote from a civil rights protest in the 1970s. It was taken straight from the Facebook page of four teens from Wilcox County High School in Georgia. That’s right.

In some areas of the United States, kids are still going to racially segregated proms.
When Georgia started integrating in the early ‘70s, school-sponsored proms stopped. White parents just couldn’t see their kids socializing in a mixed-race environment. But proms didn’t disappear—they became private parties. This tradition of privately held white proms and privately held black proms has continued to this day.

Four teen girls from Wilcox County pushed to make a difference. They’ve circumvented the prejudiced adults in their community and have taken to social media. Through viral marketing, they’ve received funding, media coverage, and support from all around the globe. And it worked! These teens united their small town—and the world paid attention.

But this isn’t even a new story. Four years ago there’s was a similar story of prom segregation with a happy ending. I don’t want to demonize the people in these small towns in Georgia and elsewhere. I’m sure that we all have traditions that we follow without thinking that are hurtful and exclusionary. Just look at any lunchroom! What do you think about this issue? Is this something that’s being talked about in your school? Let us know your thoughts!

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