The integrated prom was a whopping success

Wilcox County High School in Rochelle, Georgia finally held its first inter-racial, integrated, prom this past Saturday night – and the dance was a wild success.

According to news reports, over half of the high school attended.  (And I’m told it wasn’t just the African-American half – a large number of white students attended.)  Sadly, however, the school did not officially endorse the event, and the Governor of Georgia, Nathan Deal, was nowhere to be found in person or in spirit.

I’d written about this event three weeks ago.

Here’s a great photo of the prom from Lajuana Woodham (with permission). If this isn’t an iconic photo:

Integrated prom, photo by © Lajuana Woodham.

Integrated prom, photo by © Lajuana Woodham.

Here’s a nice one posted by Sandra Sahara to the Integrated Prom Facebook page:

First-ever integrated prom at Wilcox High in Rochelle, Georgia, April 27, 2013. Photo by Sandra Sahara, posted to Facebook.

First-ever integrated prom at Wilcox High in Rochelle, Georgia, April 27, 2013. Photo by Sandra Sahara, posted to Facebook.

There’s another great photo of the prom by Lajuana Woodham:

Integrated prom, photo by © Lajuana Woodham.

Integrated prom, photo by © Lajuana Woodham.

And here’s one more from Sandra Sahara.

I have to give the students credit.  Nearly half of them turning out to the prom – especially this prom – is a big deal.  And it’s a great sign to those of who don’t live in the south that times are changing, and have changed.  So thank you for that.

Here’s Good Morning America’s coverage of the prom, with video:

Keela Bloodworth, one of the four high school students who organized the prom, posted a short video to her Facebook page. (The other three organizers are Stephanie Sinnot, Mareshia Rucker, and Quanesha Wallace.) It’s a pretty low quality video, and you can’t see much, but it’s still one of my favorites :


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • Noctournis

    LOL, I complain about bad math… and then I… It would have been one quarter of the white kids, not a third.

  • Noctournis

    Something I’ve noticed a lot of people don’t talk about that is important to the story. The racial makeup of Wilcox co, Ga is about 2:1 white to black. So if one half of the school went, it means about one third of the white kids at the school did go, if all of the black kids went.

    You can’t just assume it’s “half half”, and I know somewhere some jackass is going to use the same bad math to assume there were a lot of black kids that didn’t go, and then claim that “black people like segregation, too”. No, no they don’t.

  • RepubAnon

    Sometimes the free market succeeds – can’t wait until the “whites only” prom goes broke…

  • http://twitter.com/BillFromDover Bill from Dover

    If only we can get these fine citizens to run for congress and show the country what bipartisanship really means.

    Whoda ever thunk it in the year of AD 2013?

  • credensjustitiam

    I’m so glad that this was a success! And everyone looks fabulous. :D

  • http://twitter.com/BillFromDover Bill from Dover

    “…it wasn’t anything like a school wide prom.”

    A school-wide prom that had exactly how many blacks attending?

    Give these kids some time as it really tough to overcome severely bigoted parents

  • http://twitter.com/BillFromDover Bill from Dover

    If there is one redeeming school board quality, they weren’t in Texas.

  • George Melby

    Now THIS counts as progress with a capital P!!! Grrrrreat going, students! I have more faith in the future when I see students like this. Sadly, I don’t hold out much hope for the southern Administrations and folks as bigots.

  • http://twitter.com/BillFromDover Bill from Dover

    Ain’t it ironic how kids now have to teach their parents how not to hate just for the sake of hating?

    One or two more generations and I believe most bigots will have been relegated to the dustpans of history.

    Go youth, you rock!

  • pigboy

    Yea! I am so proud of everyone of these kids!
    An all inclusive club and I love how they chose the membership :)
    The way they did it, was to say it would not be a proper prom without all their classmates.
    They were right. It really puts a damper on the justified haters, hate, but what the heck.
    The prom was better without the hate and next year, I know it will be a bigger and better prom.

  • http://www.facebook.com/monoceros.forth Monoceros Forth

    Why on Earth is the school still temporizing on this matter? It sounds like they’re just desperate to be let off the hook, clinging to the fig leaf that the racially exclusive prom was strictly a private affair (I’m sure that it was tacitly recognized as the “real” prom) and now pointing to this other privately organized gathering as proof that really they’re not bigots even though they had zero to do with organizing or supporting it.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I thought the same thing – asked the photographer and she said “no,” it was definitely mixed, not just the black kids. Thankfully.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Absolutely wonderful! Those kids—-just amazing. Bravo!

  • Tyro

    According to news reports, over half of the high school attended

    Yes. It looks like it was the African American half of the student body, with a few white guests.

    It is a start, but it wasn’t anything like a school wide prom.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    That’s terrific news, John. Thanks for keeping us up to date on the fact these kids are better people than the racist parents.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Even more to the point the whites-only segregated prom as the only one, because the African American students didn’t have the means or the backing to have their own.

  • emjayay

    Southern racists were traditionally in the Democratic party, but walked out of the Democratic party convention in the 1948 because of a civil rights plank and Truman’s support of civil rights. Truman as president later integrated the armed forces. The Dixiecrats mostly came back, but left (just not in an organized fashion) after the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts in 1965 and 66. LBJ predicted this but supported civil rights anyway. Then Nixon’s famous “Southern Strategy” right after that was to woo them to the Republican party with rascist messaging. The white vote has gone overwhelmingly to the Republican party in the South ever since. This rascist messaging has continued from Reagan to Romney.

  • unclemike

    Actually, he says the segregated prom *wasn’t* officially sanctioned by the school, but put on by the white parents. He kind of stumbles over the word, but it’s very clear from this report and others I’ve read that the school has not sponsored a prom in decades and has left it up to parents to do so.

    Which is how we got the segregated proms in the first place.

  • milli2

    Good for these kids.

  • lmsinca

    Thanks for covering this. I read about it a few weeks ago and was shocked there wasn’t an entire student body prom………………………….ever. Good for the students and hopefully some of them will become the leaders of tomorrow. My best friends family fled the south during the late fifties but she still visits family once a year and wasn’t surprised at all.

    Good for ABC for following and reporting the story as well. School officials and the Governor should all be ashamed, but it is Georgia after all.

  • cole3244

    this is hard to believe in 2013, but then again when you are talking about conservatives (bigots) and their fear of change i guess its not so surprising after all, they have been holding america back for decades and will continue to for the foreseeable future.

  • UncleBucky

    So, was there also an “official” prom that was NOT integrated? The article states that this integrated prom was not endorsed by the school. Therefore the implication was that (in prom season) there WAS one that WAS ENDORSED! :)

    And it wasn’t integrated, right? :) Yikes.

  • Leota2

    These kids are amazing. THIS almost sixty years after Brown v Board . . . .

    As my father says (who was born in the deep south seventy- three years ago). “Things won’t change
    until all of those old racist son of a bitches go mute and then fall off the planet or their kids start ignoring them . . . . “

  • goulo

    Congratulations to the organizers and participants!

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