The 2014 prom at Wilcox County High School in southern Georgia was the first racially integrated prom ever thrown by the school, according to the New York Daily News.
Although the rural district integrated in the 1970s, all dances were still segregated because the school left it up to the community to organise the events. An office worker at the high school told Business Insider a Military Ball was the only school-sponsored dance and it was open to any student in the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps.
Last year, instead of settling for separate black and white proms, four senior girls organised an alternative prom for all students with the help of local parents. While some posters promoting the dance at school were torn down, the prom was ultimately a success: a Facebook page for the 2013 prom garnered nearly 30,000 likes, donations poured in with some DJs offering their services for free, and about half of the 400-student school attended.
For the 2014 prom, school officials decided to sponsor what they called the “inaugural prom,” which was held last weekend. It was the first prom ever sanctioned by the school, but the label downplays the controversy surrounding this year’s dance becoming the first official prom for black and white students.
“It went really well and was really well attended as any school event would be,” Wilcox County Schools Superintendent Steve Smith told Business Insider. “We’re a small community and word got out really well. We didn’t do anything special to advertise it.”
Smith said around 300 people from the community stopped by the prom at 10 p.m. to watch a “Senior Walk,” where the upperclassmen were introduced with their dates.
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