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Sat, 04.27.2013

Georgia High School Holds Its First Integrated Prom

Youth enjoying a Masquerade Theme

*On this date in 2013, Georgia’s Wilcox County High School held its first integrated prom, open to students of all races.

This was almost 60 years after the Supreme Court ruled that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” As a result, the practice of segregation by a public school was unconstitutional. Nevertheless, until 2013, Wilcox County High School held two proms: one for White students and one for Black students.  It left many with questions about the legality of segregation.

The answer was in the sponsorship of the prom. In many school districts, the school and its administration organize and monitors the school dances and prom. In such cases, the public school is responsible for ensuring that it extends civil rights to all participants in school-sponsored events. For years, students had lobbied to end separate proms, but the school couldn't do anything about it because proms are typically organized by students and parents, not the staff.

That Saturday’s integrated bash occurred after four students at Wilcox County High School in Rochelle, two Black and two White, spearheaded an effort to allow every senior at the school to celebrate the teenage rite of passage together.

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