It’s hard to believe that it was just one year ago that a high school in the United States held its very first integrated prom.
That historic dance was held at Wilcox County High School in Wilcox County, Ga., and was spearheaded by Mareshia Rucker. The red dress she wore that night is now proudly displayed in an exhibit at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
Rucker grew up in Georgia. There black and white students studied side by side in classroom, but didn’t go to prom together.
“It was de facto segregation, said Rucker “This is something that was and because this is how it is – you don’t bother.”
So she decided to bother it, and helped organize the first integrated prom in her county. Blacks and whites went side by side as each other dates, and danced the same dance floor, enjoying each other’s company for the first time at the same prom.
The Canadian Museum for Human Rights learned of her story and tracked her down.
They brought her prom dress and shoes from that special night so Rucker’s pain and success could be shared and to make a point that human rights battles are still happening now.
“Because you wouldn’t normally say a prom dress speaks to human rights, and yet it does,” said Matthew McRae with the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
Rucker says she’s humbled and honoured to have her dress and story in the museum.
One year later, Rucker’s school took over organizing the integrated prom but it still wasn’t allowed to be held on the school property, a sign Rucker’s says shows the fight is not over.