April 7, 2014
Inclusion – As much as times have changed the U.S. struggles with race. The divide for some is closing as for others is widening. As we analyze the U.S. military’s view on natural hair for black women this too is a sign that raises flags. The coming together where a “Georgia school hosts first racially integrated prom” after years of division set about from integration. In 2013, students got together to organize a prom for all students- Black, White, Latino and Asian. There were those that did not like this coming together.
As far as we have come in the salad bowl it just “last week, for the first time in decades, students from Wilcox County, Georgia, attended a school-sponsored prom that was open to all students rather than a private, racially segregated prom. For decades, Wilcox County High School hadn’t hosted a prom for its 400 students. Instead, parents and their children organized private, off-site, racially segregated parties known to most as “white prom” and “black prom.” After students planned their own integrated dance last year, school leaders announced they would sponsor the school’s first prom — and it would be open to everyone. “Everything went off without a hitch,” Wilcox County schools Superintendent Steve Smith said this week — just as he expected.”
The last official school proms were held in Wilcox County decades ago, before schools were racially integrated, community members said. Wilcox County and many other schools in the Deep South canceled proms and homecoming dances in the early years of integration, and in some places, private, segregated proms became the local tradition.
“Wilcox County is not the only place with a history of racially segregated proms. In the 2009 documentary “Prom Night in Mississippi,” director Paul Saltzman followed the preparations for the first integrated prom in Charleston, Mississippi. Actor Morgan Freeman, a native of the area, offered in 1997 to cover the cost if the school board would hold an integrated prom, but the offer wasn’t accepted till 2008,” reports CNN.
As we discuss race that many have viewed as scaled and the divide is coming closer it is far from closed. The door is open to fact and interpretation. As we understand race it becomes clear that reconciliation and informed empathy is required to understand the conditions of race.
The prom is a yard stick of change on the timeline of race matters. The prom is one resolved action but the hearts and minds of those who gave backlash still harbor the lack of education and realization of race in America. One dance can be the start of healing in Wilcox County but more work is required to remove segregated thinking to heal a nation still struggling with the impact of race.