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Youth enjoying a Masquerade Theme
*On this date in 2013, Georgia’s Wilcox County High School held their 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” and as a result, the practice of segregation by a public school was unconstitutional. Never-the-less 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 the segregation.
The answer was in the sponsorship of the prom. In many school districts, it is the school and its administration that organizes and monitors the school dances and the prom. In such cases, it is the public school that is responsible to ensure 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 who are Black and two who are White, spearheaded an effort to allow every senior at the school to celebrate the teenage rite of passage together.
New York Daily News