It's that time of year when high school students get ready for prom season. It may shock you to learn just how some students conduct their prom. When integration took effect, the school-sponsored prom at Wilcox County High School ended. Instead, parents began raising money for two separate proms. So students at Wilcox County High School in Rochelle, Georgia, have held one prom for white students and one prom for black students ever since. But a group of students is working together to change that this year.
In the fall, Quanesha Wallace, a black girl, was crowned homecoming queen. A white male student was crowned homecoming king. They went to two separate dances and were photographed for the yearbook separately.
Quanesha and a group of her friends, both black and white, decided that they wanted to bring an end to the separate proms so that all of the students could dance together.
"It is embarrassing to know that I'm from the county that still does this," said Keela Bloodworth, a white student who is helping to organize the integrated prom with Quanesha.
The students have encountered some opposition to the integrated prom, saying that some of the signs they first put up to advertise it were torn down. So far, the students have raised more than $1,000 for the integrated prom by selling food plates, and they have also gotten help from some school officials.
The students seem keenly aware of what an impact they could have on the future for Wilcox High School students. "We realize that we're making history, because this has never happened before," said Mareshia Rucker. Mareshia said that she hopes that what this year's senior class is doing will rub off on future students and that it will encourage them to carry this new tradition on so that they do not fall back into the segregated proms.
Steve Smith, the Wilcox County School Superintendent, said he is aware of the private proms, but that parents are in their rights to raise money for separate proms. He did not say if the school has plans to sponsor a prom in the near future.
The students have set up a Facebook page to spread awareness on the integrated prom, and it is scheduled to be held April 27. So far, more than 50 tickets have been sold.
[Related: History of Segregation in America]