RSS
Mississippi's prom outrage: An echo of desegregation
The parents who allegedly tricked lesbian Constance McMillen into attending a "fake prom," argues AlterNet's Angela C. Stuesse, are part of a sad state tradition
Constance McMillen.
Constance McMillen.
A

s controversy unfolds around the "fake prom" that Mississippi lesbian Constance McMillen was duped into attending, AlterNet contributor Angela C. Stuesse considers the parallels between the role parents allegedly played in the deception and the behavior of their 1960s counterparts who took matters into their own hands when the state's schools were racially desegregated. A short excerpt:

"The 'solution' of organizing a parent-organized alternative to publicly supported education or social events is firmly rooted in southern history, and has continued into the present. In Mississippi and other parts of the South, as school districts lost their court battles against federally mandated racial desegregation in the late 1960s and early 1970s, private schools were founded in a matter of weeks. White parents moved their children into the schools they had organized, and public schools became de facto black schools. This pattern persists in many southern locales today....

"Since school districts couldn’t legally sponsor segregated proms, parents stepped in to privately fund and plan them. Having been raised in the Midwest, I was shocked to learn when I moved to Mississippi that my neighbor (who, like me, graduated from high school in 1994) had attended a racially segregated prom. Both the black and the white proms, each with its own king and queen, were documented in her high school yearbook...."

Read the full story at AlterNet:

EDITORS' PICKS

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week