A call for equality: Echoes of a previous era inspiring students in America

by Kulsum Musani, Staff Writer

Wilcox County, Georgia recently made headlines all over the country when reporters announced that students from this high school were organizing its first ever integrated prom.

Wait, what? Rewind back to the 1950s and you might think of sitting in history class and learning about how nine African American students joined the all white school in Little Rock, Arkansas. Or even farther back, you might remember Rosa Parks making headlines by sitting in the front of the bus, even though she was black. Most of us probably thought segregation was actually over and that finally, we could be united as a country.

Fast forward to 2013, and we might have celebrated too fast. It is interesting that negative practices and ideologies, which we thought we had abolished a long time ago, are back. Black and white students may be able to go to school together, but celebrating the prom together for some is out of the question.

The school under the radar is Wilcox County High School, which, like most other schools in the South, is not funded by the school board, but by parents and students. This means that even though schools are integrated, students go to specific proms based on their color. For the first time however, students from this high school are organizing their first integrated prom, to be held on the 27th of April this year.

I was very surprised after reading this article, because the last thing that I ever expected to read about was that we still have segregation in the United States of America. I never thought that in a country facing troubles with the economy, war, and government policies, we would have to solve difficulties that we thought we overcame more than half a century ago.

Engineering student and freshman Rebecca Thomas echoed similar sentiment, as she stated, “It’s kind of embarrassing that we have states like Mississippi that only recently illegalized slavery, and at this point, when we have a black president, things like this are still happening in this country. Clearly, we still have a long way to go in order to ensure equality for every single person in the country.”

Other schools also have segregated proms, so the efforts made by these students are certainly commendable, as they are setting an example for other students to follow. I think it is amazing that they have been able to break out of what seems to have become a norm in the county and fight for their rights. It’s not right that the people who they consider to be their best friends, their dates, and even just their colleagues are forced to celebrate their special night separate from each other.

Doing something of this caliber requires a lot of strength and hopefully through their success, more students will rise to the occasion to fight for their rights and show that regardless of age or race, we do have rights which we will fight for if they are taken away from us.