It was like reading a newspaper clipping from the 1960’s when I saw an article located on the front page of CNN, titled “Georgia school hosts first racially integrated prom.” My first reaction was, admittedly, one of horror. It was hard for me to understand how a state that is located in one of the most economically and (debatably) socially advanced countries in the world could have operated such a backward and unjust social system that allowed and even seemed to encourage racial discrimination. As I read the article, I found myself even more shocked to learn that not only was this the first time that a school dance had been racially integrated in the history of the school, but the town itself was in an uproar about the event.
The author, Jamie Gumbrecht, stated, “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.” (Gumbrecht, CNN).
I will let that sink in for a minute.
That is over sixty years after the Civil Rights Movement that swept America in the 1950’s and 1960’s in an effort to secure equal rights to all citizens of the United States, not just those born with white skin and people still petitioned against an integrated prom from taking place. Yet, despite the massive efforts taken by those who so bravely stood up against the hypocrisy and sheer injustice that racism forces upon a society, it is stories like this that detail just how much farther we as a nation still need to go in order to create a better and more socially just culture. It is the stories, such as this one, that remind us that while we, as a nation, have jumped leaps and bounds in the fight against racism, hate, and segregation, the war has not been won and there is still much work to be done if we are to win this battle against social inequality and discrimination.