Students at Georgia's Wilcox County High School turned out in big numbers Saturday for the school's first integrated prom in Cordele, Ga.(Photo: WMAZ)
By Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY
For the first time ever, students at Georgia's Wilcox County High School held a racially integrated prom this weekend.
and flash cameras sizzled as students stepped from limos and strode a
red carpet Saturday night at the Crips County Community Clubhouse in
Wilcox HIgh School, like many Georgia schools
of the past, is one of the last in the state to hold privately run,
segregated proms because the school system does not sponsor any prom at
all, WMAZ-TV reports.
That led to separate "white" and "black" dances and proms.
While traditional, it has made in recent years for some awkward, stinging moments:
- Last year, a biracial student was turned away from a white dance.
year the high school in Abbeville, Ga., finally allowed an integrated
homecoming court, but the winner, Quanesha Wallace, wasn't permitted to
attend the "white" homecoming party because she's black.
That prompted a group of students, including Quanesha, to end the divisions and organize their own integrated prom.
Bloodworth said it only made sense because they were all longtime
friends who grew up together: "We're basically siblings."
They got the word out with posters, organized a Facebook page and started putting on fundraisers. They encountered some backlash in town, and found a few of the posters ripped down.
But Saturday night, all the hard work paid off. They not only got a big turnout, many of the white students showed up for Saturday's bash instead of last week's "white only" prom.
just put my foot down," said one white student, decked out in an aqua
prom dress that was color-coordinated with the bow tie on the tux of her
African-American date. "I'm not going to go until everybody can be
Quanesha, her arm wrapped around a white friend, said with a big smile, it "turned out really well."
"I didn't even know this many people were coming, but I guess there was a lot of tickets being sold," said the Wilcox senior.
national attention over the prom led to appearances by DJ's from
Atlanta and Texas and attracted enough donations to fund some
scholarships for seniors.
Principal Chad Davis has praised
their students' efforts and says the school will discuss the possibility
of a united prom in 2014.