Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Georgia integrated prom

Georgia integrated prom, Teenagers in a pocket of rural Georgia have held their first integrated school prom, ending decades of racial segregation that kept black and white pupils apart.

The inaugural "Love Has No Colour" event proved to be a great success after being organised by a group of school-leavers from Wilcox County High School in Rochelle.

They were forced to take matters into their own hands after teachers and parents refused to break with the county's 40-year tradition of holding separate proms.

"We live in rural south Georgia, where not too many things change, the group of four girls – two black and two white – said in a statement. "We want to make a difference in our community."

Hundreds of students, dressed in tuxedos and ball gowns, danced and celebrated the end of their school days at the prom, which the group funded via donations made over Facebook.

"Hopefully when everything is said and done, people in our county will really realise that there is no sense in the way things are right now," Mareisha Rucker, one of the organisers, told local TV news.

"I feel like we are living Martin Luther King's dream," added Alexis Miller, a white student who took her black boyfriend as her date.

The event's official Facebook page was yesterday inundated with messages of congratulations and support from around the world. "The future is lucky to have you," wrote Tricia Gerhardt.

Despite racial segregation in American schools being outlawed some 60 years ago, Wilcox County has continued holding separate proms classified as private events organised by parents.

The so-called "white prom" quietly went ahead earlier this month, after school authorities declined to step in. Students and parents refused to comment to reporters who waited outside.

Parents who sent their children to the segregated prom have previously told reporters that the ongoing racial separation is justified because black and white pupils enjoy different types of music.

Amid sharp criticism, the school's management has continued to stress on its website that the events are "private parties" over which it "has no influence". In a petition to Nathan Deal, the governor of Georgia, the NAACP pressure group called for "an end to segregated proms, homecomings, and other school related social events".

Steve Smith, the local schools superintendent, has said that a proposal for an official integrated prom in 2014 will be made to school administrators.

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