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One Prom For All

We all know  WWII ended in 1945,  after two atomic bombs were dropped on Japan.

When did the last WWII soldier officially surrender?


Hiroo Onoda, a Japanese intelligence officer, lived in the  Philippine jungles, waging guerilla warfare against the locals for nearly 20 years after the war’s end, until his former commander found and  ordered him to surrender.

Let’s try another scenario.

We all know the Supreme Court’s 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education made school segregation illegal.

So, when was the most recent racially segregated prom held?

Last year.

Over half a century after the death of school segregation, students at Wilcox County High School in Rochelle, Georgia, are preparing for their first integrated prom.

In Georgia, proms are not school-sponsored events, but rather privately run, usually by parents. For as long as anyone can remember, parents at Wilcox have organized two proms, one for white students and one for African American students.

This year, Wilcox had an African American homecoming queen and a white homecoming king. They went to separate homecomings and don’t appear in the yearbook together. The homecoming queen decided she wanted an integrated prom, so all of her friends and classmates could attend the same dance.

Thus, the White House became integrated before Wilcox students could attend an integrated prom.

The move has drawn strong reactions throughout the community, both positive and negative: school administration support coupled with torn down posters.

The integrated prom is scheduled for April 27th, and so far over 50 people have signed up for the event, although Wilcox will still have its separate proms this year for those who wish to attend.

I’ll refrain from voicing my opinions on the matter. I hope they’re clear without being stated in print. There’s no debate here. Two decisions exist, only one of which is correct.

Instead, I’d like to praise the students for taking a stand. They recognize what they deserve and have acted on it. Segregated proms, hopefully, will soon become a thing of the past rather than the present.

This also provides a glimpse, albeit a drastic one, into a world outside the comfortable confines of Columbus Academy. We can complain about going to prom, but at least we have one where everyone’s welcome, and it’s something we should make the most of. We’re fortunate to be where we are, and I think we can all appreciate that.

Written by Andy Li’13


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