Segregated Prom: Wilcox County, GA. Students Set Up First Integrated Prom

By: WSAV Email
By: WSAV Email

ROCHELLE, GA - They share the classroom, the football field, and the baseball diamond, but the school is still holding on to a vestige of this country's darkest days of segregation.

"We're embarrassed, it's embarrassing," exclaimed Stephanie Sinnot, Mareshia Rucker, Quanesha Wallace, and Keela Bloodworth.

The group has been friends since the 4th grade and they say they do everything together, except prom night.

"We are all friends," said Stephanie. "That's just kind of not right that we can't go to prom together."

Stephanie and Keela are white and Mareshia and Quanesha are black. They're seniors at Wilcox County High School, a school that has never held an integrated prom during its existence.

"There's a white prom and there's an integrated prom," said Keela.

The rule is strictly enforced, any race other than Caucasian wouldn't dare to attend the white prom.

"They would probably have the police come out there and escort them off the premises," said Keela.

That was the case just last year as a biracial student was turned away by police. It's been that way for as long as anyone can remember and it doesn't stop at prom. Homecoming is also segregated. Normally, there would be a court for each race, but for the first time the school decided to elect only one homecoming court, Quanesha won. But there were still two separate dances.

"I felt like there had to be a change," said Quanesha. "For me to be a black person and the king to be a white person, I felt like why can't we come together."

Quanesha wasn't invited to the white homecoming. In fact, the pair took separate pictures for the school yearbook.

"When people around here are set in their ways, they are not to adamant to change," said Marishia.

So the girls are taking matters into their own hands.

"If we don't change it nobody else will," said Keela.

They're part of a group of students organizing a prom for everyone to attend, called the "Integrated Prom", but everyone is not fond of the idea.

"I put up posters for the "Integrated Prom" and we've had people ripping them down at the school," said Keela.

The group says they will continue to make progress even though there doesn't seem to be much motivation to change.

"We need to stick with the tradition," Quanesha said mockingly. "This is a traditional thing we don't need to change and stuff like that, but why? No one can answer my question.

"Exactly," responded Keela. "They think nothing's broken so don't fix it."

There will still be two proms this year. Neither proms are financed by or allowed to take place at Wilcox County High School. The students said that when they pushed for one prom, the school offered a resolution to permit an integrated prom that would allow all students to attend but not stop segregated proms.

The group also has a Facebook page named "Integrated Prom" to gain support and are also hosting several fund-raising events to pay for the prom.


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