A group of Georgia students have made history by organising the first ever racially-integrated prom for their rural high school - nearly 60 years after segregation was ruled illegal.
Separate proms and homecoming events for white and non-white students have been held throughout the history of Wilcox County High School.
The school board has never formally endorsed the events, leaving them instead in the hands of parents who have traditionally hosted segregated dances in place of one official prom. Because these events are privately organised and funded, the school has not broken any civil rights laws.
Students attend the Wilcox County High School on Saturday
However this year, students Stephanie Sinnot, Mareisha Rucker, Quanesha Wallace and Keela Bloodworth decided to take matters into their own hands.
Sinnot and Bloodworth, who are white, and Rucker and Wallace, who are black, were disappointed they would not have been able to attend prom together, they told WSAV.
Sinnot said: “We are all friends. That’s just kind of not right that we can’t go to prom together.”
Grouping together, the friends formed a Facebook page announcing their intention to hold an integrated prom.
The integrated prom was the brainchild of Stephanie Sinnot, Mareshia Rucker, Quanesha Wallace, and Keela Bloodworth
Entitled Inegrated Prom and under the banner Love Has No Colour, the group raised funds and attracted nearly 30,000 likes in the run up to Saturday’s prom.
According to ABC News, nearly half of the school’s student body attended the event, with Rucker telling WGXA: “Hopefully when everything is said and done, people in our country will really realise that there is no sense in the way things are right now.”
Alexis Miller, a white student with a black boyfriend attended, telling 41WMGT: "I feel like we are living Martin Luther King's dream."
The friends set up this Facebook page to encourage support and raise funds for the prom
Old habits die hard however, as CBS Atlanta points out, there was another dance for Wilcox County students on April 4 – a segregated prom organised privately by white parents.
The channel spoke to the Reverend Raphael Warnock, Ph.D., who said he was surprised to learn the segregated proms were still taking place.
When asked about segregation, the senior pastor at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Dr Martin Luther King Jr once preached, admitted: "The state of Georgia has a sad and painful history in this regard."
The event came nearly 60 years after the US Supreme Court ruled that segregation in public schools was illegal.
According to 41WMGT, Wilcox County High School's principal Chad Davis refuses to comment on the matter, though school system's superintendent Steve Smith said Prom 2014 would be placed on the agenda for next year.