In Rural Georgia, Students Step Up to Offer Integrated Prom
ABBEVILLE, Ga. — Mareshia Rucker watched in frustration last weekend as several dozen classmates in tuxedos and gowns walked into an Art Deco theater for her high school’s “white prom.”
Mareshia Rucker, left, and Stephanie Sinnott helped put on a barbecue plate sale in Abbeville, Ga., to raise money for the prom.
Like all black students at Wilcox County High School, she was not invited. The rural county in central Georgia is one of the last pockets in the country with racially segregated proms.
“These are people I see in class every day,” said Ms. Rucker, a senior, who hid in a parked car outside the prom. “What’s wrong with dancing with me, just because I have more pigment?”
But this weekend, after decades of separate proms for white students and black students, Wilcox County will have its first integrated prom.
Organized by students, it is open to all, at a ballroom in nearby Cordele. Nearly half of the school’s 380 students have registered, with roughly equal numbers of black students and white students.
A group of four female students — two black and two white — came up with the idea, and they have received an outpouring of support from across the country. Their Facebook group has 24,000 fans, and it has raised enough in donations to rent a ballroom and buy food and gift bags for every couple