Wilcox County High School in Rochelle, GA became integrated only 30 years ago – but despite desegregation in the classroom, the school has continued to host separate proms for students of different races.
The high school’s annual sponsored prom ended the same year the school accepted integration, but parents continued to fund separate segregated proms up until today.
Now, a group of high school seniors at the middle Georgia school are hoping to end the current practice by organizing the school’s first-ever integrated prom.
Breaking with tradition
“There were many comments made that if you’re an African-American and you show up to the white prom, you’d probably get asked to leave,” said Ethan Roundtree, one of the organizers of the project.
Taking a stand against the segregated proms, Roundtree and a handful of other students — both black and white — spent their spring break working to raise money for this year’s prom, which they hope will include students of all races.
“It embarrasses me to say that I’m part of the county that still does this,” Keela Bloodworth, a student who lives in Wilcox County, told 41 NBC.
Opposition to change
However, the students have received both support and disapproval from county residents and students.
Mareshia Rucker, one of the student organizers planning the integrated prom, said she printed and posted plenty of flyers where many were eventually torn down or ripped.
Still, some students still remain hopeful that enough money will be raised to plan the county’s first-ever integrated prom.
“In some way it will shape the history for Wilcox County and what happens next,” Roundtree says.
The prom will be held on April 27 and so far, half of the funds for the event have been raised.
For more information, visit’s the group’s Facebook page.
Follow Lilly Workneh @Lilly_Works