Georgia High School Holds its First Integrated Prom
Sixty years after Brown v. Board of Ed ruled that segregation is illegal, a Georgia high school finally catches up with the rest of the country by holding its first integrated prom. Why did it take so long?
By Julissa Catalan
A Rochelle, Georgia high school has finally held its first school district-sponsored integrated prom.
This year's Wilcox County High School event was the first district-sponsored prom in over 50 years ago, dating back to when schools were still segregated—prior to the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954.
But despite the obvious implications, parents from the 400-student school have organized two separate, segregated proms every year since—calling them "white prom" and "Black prom." The school says it did not want to get involved.
Last year, four female friends—two white and two Black—made headlines when they merged the normally segregated proms into one that all students could attend. Just like the dances before it, the prom was considered "unofficial," as the parents, not the school district, planned it.
"I didn't agree with the fact that they separated Blacks and whites, so I just put my foot down and said, 'No, I'm not going to an all-white prom and I'm not going to go with somebody to an all-Black prom, it's just not going to happen,"' said a white female student who attended last year's prom with a Black date.
"Love really has no color, and I want everybody to know that if you stand up for something you believe in only positive things can come from it," added Mareshia Rucker, a 2013 prom organizer.After the student-led prom received national exposure, the school caved to the pressure and sponsored its first integrated prom. Donations for this year's prom soon started rolling in, including volunteering offers from Atlanta-area DJs and motivational speakers.
"Everything went off without a hitch," said Wilcox County schools Superintendent Steve Smith.
A school representative also tweeted, "Great job Prom Committee! Great decorations, DJ, and turnout for the Senior Walk! Thank You Community for your support!"
Great job Prom Committee! Great decorations, DJ, and turnout for the Senior Walk! Thank You Community for your support!
— Wilcox Co Schools (@wilcoxschools) March 30, 2014
Lingering racism still exists in the community, however, and some families protested by organizing their own unofficial, segregated (white-only) prom.
"I'm absolutely sure that there are teachers that are still in the system right now that are at my school and they still don't want an integrated prom," Rucker said.
Many schools in the South—including Wilcox County High School—canceled proms and dances in the early years of integration. These were replaced by parent-led segregated proms, which in some counties, continue to be upheld as a tradition.
In "Prom Night in Mississippi," a 2009 documentary, director Paul Saltzman detailed the preparations for the first integrated prom in Charleston, Mississippi.Actor Morgan Freeman, a Charleston native, initially offered up funding in 1997 if the school would hold an integrated prom—the offer was not accepted for 11 years.
NAACP says: While the state has hate crime laws, they're not often enforced.
A white teen, social media identified as a student at Southington High School in Connecticut, made a racist video that included threats of lynching Black people and claims that he "hung 12 Black men from a tree just this night."
"We are tired of the abuse, the insults, the way he talks about us when he knows that we are here helping him make money," said a woman working at Trump National Golf Club.
As President Trump sends troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to "defend" (white) America against the caravans of Brown people and bar some from asylum in the U.S., the history of hiring undocumented workers at his properties in New Jersey and Florida continues to come to light.
Trump has a problem with undocumented immigrants seeking asylum, but not when they are hired to wash his clothes or make his bed.
The Trump administration is creating a narrative that refugees escaping violence and poverty in Central America and seeking asylum are dangerous.
Victorina Morales, an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala, reportedly crossed the border in 1999 and has worked at the at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J, since 2013, The New York Times reported Thursday.
According to a spokesperson for his business organization, she would be one of tens of thousands of people to be employed by Trump, and would be terminated if she was undocumented. Sandra Diaz, 46, from Costa Rica was another.
Both Morales and Diaz, during their stints, washed the Trump family's clothes in a special detergent, made beds and dusted.
"There are many people without papers," said Ms. Diaz, who said she witnessed several people being hired whom she knew to be undocumented.
Morales was initially pleased with her job because she was paid and tipped well, often times by Trump. But her sentiments changed when he ran for president.
"I'm tired of being humiliated and treated like a stupid person," she said in Spanish during a brief interview. "We're just immigrants who don't have papers."
During his campaign in 2016, when he referred to Mexicans as rapists and criminals, he promised to mandate E-Verify, a federal tool to verify employment eligibility, and requested $23 million in his 2019 budget proposal to expand the program for nationwide use. He also bragged when a new Trump hotel opened in Washington, "We didn't have one illegal immigrant on the job."
"The president has been half-serious about stopping illegal immigration by not taking away the jobs magnet," said Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA, a group pushing to reduce immigration. Beck said Trump has "let us down in his promise to help American workers" because he hasn't "put his shoulder behind a mandatory E-Verify bill."
Trump signed a "Buy American, Hire American" executive order in 2017 restricting visas, but his Mar-a-Lago golf club also has a history of applying for H-2B visas for hundreds of immigrant workers. The H-2B visa is for "temporary non-agricultural workers."
Morales reports being driven to work by staff to hide the fact that she couldn't legally drive, and that after she presented fake papers for work, she was given another set of fake papers by the Trump Organization to keep her employed there.
Morales had a front row seat on the job to Trump meetings as she was cleaning his villa, even when potential cabinet members were interviewed and when he met with the White House chief of staff.
But that didn't come without experiencing verbal abuse from Trump's staff.
Her attorney Anibal Romero said in a statement Thursday that his clients were called racial epithets and threatened with deportation by a supervisor that ironically, "had employed them despite knowing their undocumented status and even provided them with forged documents."
"We are tired of the abuse, the insults, the way he talks about us when he knows that we are here helping him make money," she told the NY Times. "We sweat it out to attend to his every need and have to put up with his humiliation."
Reader Question: Do we need any more proof that he's a liar about everything?
A video of a white man yelling at a white cop, without physical consequences, has more than 1 million views.
Botham Jean, Jemel Roberson and Emantic Bradford Jr. were all minding their own business, not mouthing off, and they were shot dead by police. Sandra Bland questioned an officer and wound up dead in a jail cell.
So when a video of an unidentified white man spewing expletives at an officer, throwing his license at the officer, and threatening to kill the officer, without any physical consequences, started circulating on Twitter, it went viral with more than 1 million views this week.
“All Black people have to do is stop mouthing off to police, do as they're told and they won't get shot"....
White people: pic.twitter.com/C7pf122BHm
— Tariq Nasheed (@tariqnasheed) December 2, 2018
People of color on Twitter commented that had it been them in the video, they would've had bullets in the chest by the time the truck passed:
I think that this should be allowed to be shown in the court room when white officers claim they fear for their lives because he clearly said that he would kill that officer now that would be a reason to fear for your life and yet that white man is not shot or is he dead hmmmmmmm
— Kellie Byrdsong (@ByrdsongKellie) December 3, 2018
I've literally seen Black men get manhandled and slapped around over a lot less
— aDORKable_me525 (@JayLaLa_RN) December 3, 2018
The second a black or Latin dude raises his hand and points is the second the cop pulls the trigger... this guy sure represents the power of being white ...
— Alberto Toribio (@ArealMac) December 2, 2018
Boy he would have emptied a clip in my chest for this
— Ahmadd (@amadafrink) December 2, 2018
There are studies that well document how Blacks have been treated differently by police. In the case traffic stops, whites were 57 percent more likely to be spoken to with respectful language, whereas Black drivers were 61 percent more likely to experience an exchange that was the least respectful. Officers language with the least respect included calling people, "dude, bro, boss, man, brotha, sista or chief".
FBI data found that U.S. police kill Black people at disproportionate rates: Black people accounted for 31 percent of police killing victims in 2012, even though they made up just 13 percent of the U.S. population. And 62.7 percent of unarmed people killed by police are Black.
Yet racists, and some conservatives believe the treatment is deserved because Blacks did something wrong.
Angry White Man Invokes Law Enforcement Injustice to Black People When He Thinks He's on the Receiving End: Video
Trump voter expresses frustration at perceived unfair treatment on racial terms.
For example, in Orlando's International Airport in August, a white male Trump supporter tackled to the ground by police for being a disruptive passenger
knew his privilege, when he said, "You're being rough with me. You're f***ing treating me like a Black person."
Reader Question: How does the video of the white man berating the white officer make you feel?
A Black man who was unjustly convicted because of Raimundo Atesiano's actions was deported back to Haiti.
UPDATE: Nov. 28, 2018
Raimundo Atesiano was sentenced to three years in prison for a conspiracy in his department to frame Black people. The former Biscayne Park police chief was allowed him to remain free for two weeks before surrendering to care for his mother, who is dying of leukemia, according to the Miami Herald.
"When I took the job, I was not prepared," Atesiano told a federal judge. "I made some very, very bad decisions."
As racial disparities continue to plague the criminal justice system, a former police chief in Florida admitted to purposely sending Black men to prison. Former Biscayne Park Police Chief Raimundo Atesiano acknowledged at his plea hearing in Miami federal court that he told his cops in 2013 to frame three Black residents, one of which was a 16-year-old, for a series of unsolved home and vehicle burglaries in order get a 100 percent clearance on the department's property crimes record.
"The Second Amendment was not made for Black folks," said Noah.
Jemel Roberson, a Black hero shot dead by police, was laid to rest last weekend as was Emantic Bradford Jr., an innocent Black 21-year-old male mistakenly identified as a mass shooter in an Alabama mall and also shot dead by police.
"How does this shit keep happening?" Trevor Noah, host of "The Daily Show," asked after discussing the incident.
"The cops are called into a situation. They see a Black person. And then immediately they shoot."
They are the first Chicago officers to face criminal "code of silence" charges.
The trial of former Detective David March and former Officers Joseph Walsh and Thomas Gaffney of the Chicago Police Department begins today. The men are charged with conspiracy, obstruction of justice and misconduct in the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.
Byron Ragland calls for a boycott of the shop. To "punish white supremacy and anti-Black behavior – you hit it hard and you hit it fast right in its pockets," he said.
In response to public backlash on social media, the Kirkland Police Department, which serves the Seattle suburb, offered an apology to Byron Ragland almost two weeks after he was told to leave Menchie's, a frozen yogurt shop, because the owner called 911 as women workers said he "looked suspicious."
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The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said it was a "hate incident."