Almost 60 years after the Supreme Court put an end to “separate but equal,” many high school students in Georgia's Wilcox County attended their first integrated prom this past weekend.
“Everybody goes to school together, sits together at lunch, so we’re at prom together,” one student told WMGT during a video interview. “This is South Georgia, it’s not something you see everyday. It’s about time people start recognizing."
Four Wilcox County High School seniors launched the effort to integrate their prom earlier this month. Seniors at the school have attended segregated proms since 1971.
Students Stephanie Sinnot, Mareshia Rucker, Quanesha Wallace and Keela Bloodworth started a Facebook group that solicited donations and support for an integrated prom. The group's description states the students want to make a difference in their community.
The Facebook group, which has nearly 30,000 "likes," raised enough money so that the students were able to rent a ballroom and buy gift bags for prom attendees, according to the New York Times.
The four friends had a simple motivation for organizing the event: They wanted to attend prom together. (Stephanie and Keela are white, while Mareshi and Quanesha are black, meaning they would have had to attend separate proms.)
However, it should be noted that Wilcox County High School never officially sponsored a segregated prom. Since the school was desegregated, the proms have been private, invitation-only events sponsored by parents.
Earlier this month, the president of the Georgia chapter of the NAACP asked the Wilcox County school board to change the way it handles senior prom. School administrators and teachers say they plan on surveying students and hope to come up with a school-sponsored solution for next year, the Times reports.
“This was amazing, this has been completely surreal. I am content and happy,” one student told the station.
Wilcox County is thought to be one of the last parts of the country that still holds segregated events, according to NBC affiliate WSAV. Last year the school had a segregated homecoming, the outlet notes.