Integrated Prom Dances Past Black and White


hide captionMississippi's Charleston High School held its first interracial prom in April.

Catherine Farquharson

This year, for the first time, the high school in Charleston, Miss., held an integrated prom — ending a system of parallel parties for black and white students. The change came after local luminary Morgan Freeman renewed his longstanding offer to pay for the dance if everyone could go.

Student Chasidy Buckley talked to us on the show today about the big night.

A special thanks to photographer Catherine Farquharson and filmmaker Paul Saltzman for sharing these images from the upcoming documentary Prom Night in Mississippi, and to BPP producer Angela Ellis.

A rapper's report from the prom.
A Mississippi editor says people shouldn't be so surprised.



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Am I the only one who finds this insane? Insane.

I actually didn't believe this. I didn't think they were totally segregated. That they wouldn't allow the black boy in the white prom to visit his friends!!!!!

Insanity. Mind blowing. And that there was still a "white" prom. This should be against the law. Seriously seriously wrong.

Sent by Nathan in Holland | 9:32 AM | 6-11-2008

Was this even legal? Wow. I had no idea this type of thing was going on.

Sent by Jason in CT | 9:51 AM | 6-11-2008

I had to read this article several times to accept the fact that it was actually a current news story. Separate proms? Why on Earth was this ever allowed? Shame on the parents who wouldn't allow their kids to go. I'm shocked that a segregated prom would even be considered in this day and age.

Sent by Megan | 10:37 AM | 6-11-2008

Interacial couples worst nightmare. Instead of harmony, insane amounts of restrictions based on the way one looks.

Sent by scott lee | 10:42 AM | 6-11-2008

I can't believe people are actually surprised! Are you serious? Contrary to what all the pundits think about racism, we do not live in a post-racial world (and never will!) We can only hope to live in a post-racist world. Now there's a goal to shoot for for the short term.

Sent by KC in NC | 10:50 AM | 6-11-2008

Why? Why is racism still so normal for some places? I don't understand when there is so much information and access to communication; that an entire community can find it in their hearts to hold on to hate. What where they so afraid of? Why would an integrated dance be so threatening? They should do an after the dance follow up. Have people in the community watch the original documentary and comment on it. Also they should be allowed to read our comments and defend themselves, maybe we can get a glimpse of why they hold on to hate. Do they not feel like they are stereotyping people and forcing them to live up to those stereotypes? Do they not realize that this type of behavior stereotypes them and helps the rest of the world see them as backwoods rednecks? Do they not see this? Either way, we should let them comment, because it is like the Twilight Zone. I am not ignorant, I have seen racism before and I will see it again; but as in any good research we need more information to help combat this type of behavior.

Sent by YMH | 10:52 AM | 6-11-2008

Wow, really? I can't believe that this is still a reality in the States today. I'm glad that there is movement towards change and that the students are intentional towards progress!

Sent by Peggy | 11:04 AM | 6-11-2008

I had no idea that this type of segregation still existed? I am a teacher now and in the past, in my teenage years, we always had integrated proms etc. I just assumed that all over the usa this was such a non-issue. I think it is great that npr is covering this kind of story. I think it was wonderful that anglo kids and african american kids were able to come together. Obviously, Miss. is still needing to grow and expand in some areas. Good job! kiddos!
Mary Ramos

Sent by mary ramos | 11:08 AM | 6-11-2008

No, you are not the only one that finds this insane and absolutely intolerable. It is beyond my comprehension that in the year 2008 in the United States of America with one of the most dynamic candidates running for President (oh, who happens to be black) that this kind of racism is still alive and well and that people would actually tolerate this type of behaviour. It literally makes me sick at my stomach.

Sent by Lisa Hazelwood | 11:09 AM | 6-11-2008

Only 70 miles to the north in Helena, Arkansas not only is the prom segregated, but the entire school system! When segregation became enforced in the 1970s, the "White" High School was sold to a group of private white individuals for $1 and was turned into a private school. To this day, the private school is 100% white and the public school is 99% Black.

Sent by Whitney | 11:09 AM | 6-11-2008

I find it hard to be suprised by anything that happens in this society today, but this article actually shocked me. I cannot even imagine how this segregated prom has continued to take place up until this year. NOT only is it fundamentally unconstitutional, based on unethical and unlawful treatment, it is also profoundly sad.
We have a black presidential nominee in 2008, how in the world could this type of segregation be going on right in front of us?? It scares me to think how backwards some people still are and how far we have to go to unite all cultures and races in this country.
We have an obligation to be outraged at this situation going on for so many years, without any protest or acknowledgement from the school board, teachers, students, parents, or county officials.
This two separate proms have been funded illegaly because segregation is illegal. The entire school system is accountable, the entire town is responsible. HOW in good conscience could people turn a blind eye to this situation for SO LONG?
How did this situation get resolved? By a famous actor bringing light to the complete hipocrisy and then offering to pay the money to integrate the two proms. Is that what motivated this change, MONEY?? That makes me even more sad. God help this country, as far as we have come, we still have so far to go. Maybe we need a black president more than we realize..and I didn't even vote for him in the primaries but gosh darnit, i am now.

As for the people who didn't allow their children to attend the integrated prom, God help you, you have set your children up to be unequipped to handle the real world. Wake up and stop being so ignorant!

Sent by Sonya Costello | 11:09 AM | 6-11-2008

When the segrgated proms were still going on, were there any students at the school who were neither white nor black? Or any biracial students who had a black parent and a white parent? I'm curious how they would have fit into the anachronistic insanity of race-based proms.

Sent by Maura | 11:24 AM | 6-11-2008

I live in Mississippi. I have all my life. And I'm still shocked at this story. I never knew any school still had such a thing as a "black prom" and a "white prom". When I was in school, we just had prom. That prom included African Americans, Caucasians, Hispanics, Asian Americans, Native Americans, and everything in between. It's crap like this that gives Mississippi a bad name. I promise you this is not the Mississippi I know. I can't believe there are parents who wouldn't let their kids attend. I feel the need to apologize for the ignorance of my fellow Mississippians (of whom I am ashamed).
On the other hand, I am so very proud of these students and for what they have done. Thank you for being a positive example to the elders of your community, proving to them that we are all people, regardless of the color of our skin and that we can live together in peace (something that they should've realized years ago!) And a special thanks to Morgan Freeman who continues to be a wonderful American and an amazing Mississippian. You are a role model to many!

Sent by Nicki | 11:30 AM | 6-11-2008

We think this is a part of the past then you get your eyes opened. The WORST part is,
"Some white parents wouldn't let their kids go, and some insisted on holding a private prom for their kids".

Let's hope the views of those "parents" will be gone soon.

ALL men (women) are created equal.

Sent by Bret | 11:51 AM | 6-11-2008

First, I had no idea that segregation was still legal somewhere in this country (it must be in MS). Second, I am heartened to know that someone had enough sense to allow CHILDREN to have fun together. After MS primary election of Obama, I just assumed things were better there...guess I was mistaken. Happy to see some corrective measures being taken...

Sent by Greg Branch | 11:55 AM | 6-11-2008

Of course this stuff still goes on. The Mississippians just had the courtesy to make their racism clear!

Sent by Clara | 11:55 AM | 6-11-2008

yes, I was very surprised that in 2008 there was still segregation...mind blowing really. and that it was legal. Makes me wonder how much more segregation there is in public institutions

Sent by Jenn | 11:57 AM | 6-11-2008

Growing up in Clarksdale, Mississippi, a city kept ALIVE by people such as Morgan Freeman and other responsible citizens who have established businesses and work together as a COMMUNITY, in spite of the parasitic people who steal, breed, and destroy (Drive through Clarksdale, Tutwiler, Rosedale, Chula, Tunica, Cleveland, the list goes on, to see this in action)take advantage of the mistakes made by former socialist administrations who have led this country so far astray, I found that economic segregation is more of a factor than race can or will ever be. A little thing called Capitalism, a.k.a. the free market, make this possible. Although children from lower-income households may have the right to a free lunch, prom is another matter altogether. These kids raise money, whether it be by washing cars or by asking their millionaire grandparents who happen to be subsisting solely on interest from antebellum farm yields' revenues, their father the docter, or their mother the grocery store owner,then they get together with their FRIENDS and organize a prom. The demographics of the Mississippi Delta are split nearly 70/30 black to white and with a small percentage of Middle Easterners, Hispanics, or Southwestern/eastern Asians, so the population's younger generation simply do not have the opportunity or the desire to "mix it up". They want to be with people with whom they share common ground; some kids' parents are members of the country club, some kids' parents spend every Saturday night avoiding knife fights. If anyone wants to argue against this point, then he or she might want to visit an optometrist for an eye exam, because this miniscule "problem" exists all over this great country. If any of you who have provided such witty and novel solutions to this problem of forcing complete strangers to DANCE WITH ONE ANOTHER, you deserve a reward of some type; maybe a government stipend is in order, you communists. Those who want the government to dictate your every action, telling you that you must wear a seatbelt, or that driving 65 miles per hour is ANY safer than driving 85, should really get out into the wilderness and reflect upon your own SOULS, or even read the constitution and realize that maybe those who know better simply because they are in charge should be exiled, or that those who inform their neighbor of the splinter in his eye should remove the beam from his own, first. Furthermore, those who have been labeled as being "unequipped to handle reality", or perhaps "ignorant", are, in fact, NOT. AS IF VOTING FOR THE RIGHT IS DOING ANYTHING FOR IT!!! -H.D. Thoreau

Sent by Justin McElroy | 12:08 PM | 6-11-2008

Although stories such as this, are sad/scary/horrible, they are true. We need to help Americans realize that all men (women) are created equal or we will never see Barack Obama elected as president. And what a shame that would be.

Sent by Jessie | 12:10 PM | 6-11-2008

I agree that this is a shocking and incredibly sad that racism this is still reality in this country. Be careful not to put the blame completely on one side or the other. Unfortunately barriers have been maintained on both sides in these communities. Resistance to integration is both a black and a white issue. The good news is that with each generation the racisim and the hate is giving way to equality and acceptance.

Sent by R. Parker | 12:12 PM | 6-11-2008

Wonderful photos! Indeed Desegregation and Integration are distinctly different in the context of race and education. I have academic research experience in Deep South School Desegregation and wrote my Master's Thesis at Auburn University on of School Desegregation and the advent of the "Segregation Academy" and researched a case similar.
AN IMPORTANT POINT LEFT OUT OF THIS STORY IS: the fact that the high school in Charleston, Mississippi is over 70% African American, and the "Whites Only Prom" (which is still practiced in several other southern counties along with the crowning of a separate black and white Homecoming Queen etc.) was and is a sort of "wink-wink - concession of power" by African American leaders to the "white minority" population after schools were "desegregated" in 1970. Often this concession was made as a gesture to discourage total white flight - which destroyed the economic backbones of public school systems in small, predominately black counties. Yes, it is shocking - but hardly unreasonable. However, the central reason that 2 proms existed (fear of race mixing)has been made "un-hip" by popular culture and through a blowback from traditions and power dealings based on fear in "white minority" communities in the rural Deep South counties/towns. That is why the practice of "dual proms"unfortunately survived the 20th century.

Sent by Joshua Adams | 12:16 PM | 6-11-2008

I checked the calendar, and today is not April Fools. This seems like a headline from 1960, not 2008. It is truly dumbfounding that this kind of racial segregation was allowed to exist and it took the philanthropy of Morgan Freeman to encourage it to be abandoned. The administrators of the high school should be exhibited in a collection in the Smithsonian labeled "Living Relics of America's Shameful Past".

Sent by Paul | 12:21 PM | 6-11-2008

I thank Mr Freeman for his action. I am not surprised by the news that this segregation goes on. As a white woman in my late 50s who was born and raised in Ca. I have faced prejudice because I am female. I have been verbally slammed because I am white. Do not think I compare my experiances with people of other races. Often the same people who blasted me with their ignorance carried these fears to the extreme when it came to other races. I witnessed the attitude behind closed door. Both men and women expressed horrible hate filled beliefs that I recognized even as a child were wrong. I knew better than to speak out about my feelings. I was lucky to have one side of my family to agree with these feeling
but was guided [probably wisely ] to not express my beliefs. The wrath would have been ugly. The belief that any people are better or worse than any others hurts us all regardless of skin tone, body size, social status, country , religion ,age,
handicap ,gender. I believe all people will be better off because of this prom and other large or small gesture to let people be made aware and to change the thinking one person at a time . I thank you again Mr Freeman and all who gave in any way to this. I believe you are all Gods blessings.

Sent by myrna day | 12:38 PM | 6-11-2008

Wow. Unbelievable. I don't have any words for how astounded I am that this practice of "Black and White" is still in existence! I agree with the earlier post .. could that have even been legal?!

Sent by K Reu | 12:42 PM | 6-11-2008

We owe it to our children, our country, and ourselves to do better than segregated events in 2008, even in the deep south. ESPECIALLY in the deep south. Bravo to Morgan Freeman for providing a catalyst for change. Boo to parents who would not allow their children to attend. Were they afraid their children would be harmed? Welcome to the real world. Trust is a two-way street. I'd imagine that black students entering white schools in the 50s and 60s were very afraid that they would be harmed, also. Participate, and learn to trust.

Sent by KRFA | 12:47 PM | 6-11-2008

I am a little bit disappointed by this article. One obvious question after reading it is how common segregated proms are in south and in general how many places still have segregated events? My understanding is that this is not uncommon at all. The article presented this high school like a huge exception that just now became integrated. I think this is not the case and a lot of places are still segregated in this respect. I would have liked at least a few comments showing how spread the phenomenon is.

Sent by L.M. Seattle, WA | 12:48 PM | 6-11-2008

This makes one thing clear about diversity in America.....we've come a long way and we still have a long way to go.

Sent by Julie in North Carolina | 12:54 PM | 6-11-2008

@L.M. That's a good point. Here's a link to story about a school in Georgia that integrated its prom last year.

Sent by Laura Conaway, NPR | 12:57 PM | 6-11-2008

I think it was GREAT!!!! that the children was able to come together to have such as successful prom. It is sad that it took this long for a change, but its never to late for one. Parents need to guide their children in the right direction, because teaching them to be racist will make the real world harder for them to survive. I guess the parents can't, sat on a can!!!! To the children and people of Charleston JOB WELL DONE!!!! Chasidy Buckley your speaking says alot for you (intelligent).

Sent by Candece M. Johnson | 1:01 PM | 6-11-2008

I am a native Mississippian. I left in 1980 FOREVER. I am a white woman raised among white Mississippians who love all people including those of color & diverse ethnic heritage. I'm ashamed that my birth state is still infused with hatred and intolerance fot their own citizens.

Sent by Susan | 1:25 PM | 6-11-2008

I attended the prom and worked on the prom commitee along with Chasidy and others. It was hard seeing everyday students whom we attend school with show thier TRUE colors. when they decided they didint want to attend prom cause the "BLACK" kids were going or the "WHITE" kids werer going it really shows we are not who we think. YES racism stills exist in this small country town there just is no one brave or strong enough to state the facts. I enloyed my SENIOR prom and I'd like to tahkn all the people who made it possible..

Sent by Dana Floyd | 1:35 PM | 6-11-2008

Is Mississippi in the United States? How awful to have to live and bring up children in such a backward part of the country. This is the kind of place that scares me about being an American.

Sent by Beth | 1:40 PM | 6-11-2008

I was hearing how dismayed everyone seemed to be and I couldn't help thinking about same-sex couples. I know people who tried to go to their prom with their partner and were not allowed to. Maybe one of these days in the future people will look back at our thoughts about same-sex couples and think the same way we are today about non-white couples.

Sent by Keith | 1:49 PM | 6-11-2008

This article surprised me, but maybe it shouldn't have. I guess the rural South is a long ways from liberal California, where the State Supreme Court just ruled that banning gay marriage is unconstitutional and where interracial couples are barely remarkable.
Unfortunately, this deeply ingrained bigotry is exactly why Barack is having such a hard time in places like West Virginia and other states with large populations of rural white voters. I hope that these voters can overcome their racism in November so that we don't have to spend another four (or eight) years under the current Bush policies, sending our soldiers to die for WMDs that never existed and burdening our failing economy with this seemingly endless war.
Finally, congratulations to everyone (of both races) that were brave and free-thinking enough to buck tradition and abandon the backwards legacy of segregation.

Sent by Eric in Orange County, CA | 1:50 PM | 6-11-2008

OK, I know I grew up in the north but what parent would ever not allow his or her child to go to the prom because black classmates would be there??

Sent by Scott | 2:01 PM | 6-11-2008

What a horror! To think that this is still happening in 2008 is unimaginable. I would have thought this was illegal, and it should be no matter how private a party may be. Also, to think that a school is involved in allowing this to happen is inconceivable.

Furthermore, parents instilling racial segregation onto their child are doing a disservice to her/him. Shouldn't this be considered psychological child abuse?

Sent by Nick P. | 2:14 PM | 6-11-2008

AGAIN, I would like to beg of everyone not to condemn all of Mississippi, or the South, for the actions of a few people. By doing so you are being equally as narrow minded!

Sent by Nicki | 2:25 PM | 6-11-2008

Way to go Mississippi. I see this article and think backwoods racist hicks. The civil rights movement is fifty years strong. Schools were desegragated in the 1970's and yet Mississippi is one place where racism thrives forcing itself on one generation after another. Hello, in this day and age we should not be hearing anything about segragated this or that. This article shows how backwards the minds of Mississippi whites are. Any yes I am blaming you whites - the KKK, the lynchers, the cross burners. I know you're there. You folks are unbelievable. Way to show the world what a "wonderful" state you have.

Sent by Lynne Schrupp | 2:33 PM | 6-11-2008

I like to think I learned a whole lot about the "isms" in this country when I was in college, and that we are all working to make them disappear. This story is a reminder that although I don't live in a community where this extreme racism is happening, the African American community, Native American Nations, and any immigrant group in the US lives experiences daily that cause them fear. Fear of being accosted, serving as scapegoats, or worse violated often by people who are in positions of authority. The degradation of being viewed as less than or not worthy of partaking in the privileges of dominant culture is unacceptable. It isn't just calling it racism, but defining what racism is. Imagine what it would be like if your kids weren't viewed as good enough to be friends with, date, eat at the same table, or dance together because they are a different color. Calling it racism isn't enough, but putting yourself in the black family's American experience is what is needed. Imaging a world where you and your children are shamed, mocked, or victims of violence because of color. This is what white America needs. White America must assimilate the black experience into its reality to make it stop. White Americans should feel shame for allowing this important, vital, intelligent, creative, and most importantly, Human part of our American culture be abused in anyway. All cultures deserve respect, equality, and reverence for their differences. When Michelle Obama says for the first time she is proud of her country, can you really be surprised and offended by this if you imagine yourself as the parent of a child who has to attend a separate prom dance because of color? I'm proud of her for being strong enough to state that. Can I be proud that I live in a country where people are ignorant enough to put Curious George on a t-shirt with Obama's name under them? The need to hate people in order to give oneself the illusion of being above them is an illness that needs to be eradicated as badly as HIV.

Sent by Laura Radcliff | 2:42 PM | 6-11-2008

In general, all people are the same the differences that exist are based not on color but experience. It is also interesting that in difficult economic times, joint interests propels peoples decisions. I hope that the same interest be reflected in the November elections.

Sent by Kenny Pee | 2:44 PM | 6-11-2008

THANK YOU. To the people in the community who have been holding the vision of an integrated prom for a long, long time. To Morgan Freeman for repeatedly making his offer. To the reporters and filmmakers. To the students, parents, teachers, administrators and everyone else who attended. To the school and community leaders of all ages for agreeing the school will host the prom next year. (I am sending you a small donation for the 2009 Prom.) THANK YOU for sustaining the vision of a better future.

Sent by Lisa | 2:50 PM | 6-11-2008

I can't beleive this is real, but it makes me feel better that so many other people are surprised, it means most of america has moved forward and sees beyond color and race.

Sent by Nancy | 3:02 PM | 6-11-2008

Hey, Laura. This is a great, though sad, story. You are not your home state. You are bringing a story to light to educate people. So I think it's valid people are upset about the blatant racism, and it's valid that harsh words about MS hurts as a native. But you are doing the same thing as the kids attending the prom: you are changing things for the better. Just wanted to give you a high-five for the great audio slideshow you guys did. I'm playing it for my 12-yr-old daughter and 9-yr-old son when I get home from work!

Sent by T. Weiss | 3:04 PM | 6-11-2008

I'm dismayed by the tone of this story. It's a feel good story that should have been made 40 years ago. While I commend the students, Mr. Freeman, and all that worked to create change; there is something odd about a story that celebrates this change in 2008. This should not be a feel good story. This is a national tragedy. And one that should be used, as L.M. pointed out, to shine a spotlight on other communities with similar practices. It's appalling. While confrontation is probably not the best way to change ingrained attitudes, this story makes me want to jump on a bus down to Mississippi and march in other communities that have similar practices. While we cannot control private thoughts, we as a society cannot allow anyone anywhere in America to openly proclaim racism acceptable.

Sent by Seth from Southern California | 3:11 PM | 6-11-2008

Ok, I have to go through it. Please don't rest your entire judgment of Mississippi or any other state on one particular action or generalization. It's the exact same behavior that everybody on here is condemning.

Yes there were segregated proms here. They're also in other states, but as the article comments, this was the last in Mississippi.

I especially want to address Beth's "Is Mississippi in the United States" comment. Be glad Mississippi is in the U.S. for a few reasons. From the Mississippi Believe it campaign.

The "good ole boy" network alive and well in Mississippi? Not hardly. Our new "network" consists of more black elected officials than any other state in the country.

If you listen to "Hollywood," Mississippi should be the last place to turn for learning anything about medicine. They couldn't be more wrong. When it comes to modern medicine, Mississippi wrote the book. Literally. While at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Mississippian Dr. Arthur Guyton wrote the Textbook of Medical Physiology, used by medical students around the world since 1956. The best-selling physiology book ever published.

Health care in Mississippi. It is by no means back-woods or antiquated, as is often Hollywood's interpretation. In fact, Mississippi was home to the first-ever heart transplant ... and the first-ever lung transplant ... and the first-ever kidney autotransplant. All performed by Mississippian Dr. James Hardy

One Mississippian -- Lawrence "Rabbit" Kennedy -- who served in the U.S. Army during Vietnam, remains one of the most decorated U.S. soldiers in history. One small town in Mississippi -- D'Lo -- sent proportionally more men to serve in World War II than any other town in the country. I also have to mention Jack Lucas who recently died at the age of 80 and was the youngest Marine ever to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor and joined the Marines at the age of 14.

From Pulitzer Prize winners to revolutionaries who initiated momentous cultural change ... oh, yes, Mississippians can write. No other state in the country can claim as many honored, awarded and revered writers as Mississippi. Yes, Mississippi.

Beth what state are you from? I'm sure it has some problems of its very own. I'm proud to be able to say I live here and I am raising my children right here in Mississippi to help make a difference in the world around us.

Thomas Broadus Jackson, Mississippi

Sent by Thomas Broadus | 3:13 PM | 6-11-2008

How was the band?
The punch. the cake, the decorations?
Who was on the court, did the kids select a prom queen and king?
Hope all got home safe!!!
Drive carefully, and stay in school, all you prom night partiers!!!

Sent by Anne Sweeney | 3:22 PM | 6-11-2008

I am shocked and embarrassed. I didn't not believe that this could be the first ever interracial prom. How could previous prom segregation been legal?

Sent by michael in NYC | 3:42 PM | 6-11-2008

THANK YOU SO MUCH MR. THOMAS BROADUS! I will stand beside you any day of the week and proudly proclaim that I am from the WONDERFUL state of Mississippi. Yes I said it Lynne Schrupp. Mississippi is wonderful.
No doubt it is very, very sad that there is still segregation of any sort in the US. It is a shame that some people still think in such a narrow minded manner. We are all people, none any better than the next. However, some of you have seemed to want to take this story of the struggle of one community and generalize the entire state of Mississippi around it. Shame on you for being so hypocritical. You blast the bigots and then turn right around and discriminate on others. Perhaps you should think before you speak next time. Every state has their problems. And every person has their faults. The important thing is that we work together to become a better nation and quit pointing fingers and passing blind judgments!

Sent by Nicki | 3:43 PM | 6-11-2008

For those of us shocked, we should be shocked that we are shocked! Racism is alive and well in the United States. When Democrats are deciding to vote for McCain, rather than Obama, simply because of the color of his skin, reveals the true sentiments of our America; to hell with government and public policy. I just hope those of us with racist mentalities remember that one day, they'll meet their maker and explain their disapproval to Him! Maybe we should vote for Obama, so the education budgets can be increased. This way, more Americans will be educated as to the history of this nation, including racism. We all know, the more informed a person is, there is a better chance that they are more open minded thinkers.

Sent by Lauren Schexnider | 3:45 PM | 6-11-2008

This article is definitely very sad - and it doesn't have to do with Mississippi - it has to do with racism being alive and well in 2008. SAD.

Sent by Natanya Brown | 3:49 PM | 6-11-2008

Coming from a that has a core background of German-French decent but now includes the blood lines of African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans and Native Americans, I find this absolutely shocking! Are we really hung up on something so shallow as to miss the experience of simply being HUMAN??? Whoever you are, wherever you are, please free your minds. Many of the world's most beautiful and poignant gifts emerge from our ability to think beyond our eyes and traditions.

Sent by Lauren in NorCal | 4:00 PM | 6-11-2008

I graduated from a public high school in a small town in Mississippi in 1996 and we did not have integrated dances. We had for years tried to integrate the prom but the school board continued to bow to "parents" wishes, kept the dances off school grounds, and thus segregated. I am happy to say that in 1997, the year after I graduated the school held its first official dance on school property since official integration occurred. The real question is how was this allowed to happen for so long after the schools were officially integrated and why did it take the students to do something about it?

Sent by John Hansen | 4:17 PM | 6-11-2008

This story is sad and shocking, but what worries me just as much is the blissful ignorance that so many responders obviously have about the state of racism in the United States.

I can only assume that people such as Beth, Lynne Schruup and Nancy do not open their eyes on a daily basis to see the racism all around them, because no matter where you live, it exists. It cripples those who are victims of it and fuels hate in those that perpetrate it.

Luckily our government doesn't officially condone it, and individuals who promote it have been hushed into corners where their voices are often silenced. Meanwhile many others struggle daily to secure a job, become educated, and rise out of poverty, living relics of racism's lasting effects.

Sent by J.S. | 4:49 PM | 6-11-2008

I am not suprised that segregation exists in Mississippi and other parts of these United States. I am so glad than CHANGE is happening across this nation that hopefully WE(all races) can embrace each others differences and use it as a tool to build stronger bonds in each repsective community and in this country!

Sent by Hayheart | 4:55 PM | 6-11-2008

It's good to know that some whites have progressed. Now if we as an alleged Christian nation could only move on to Darfur.

Sent by R Adams, Hou TX | 5:19 PM | 6-11-2008

I'm a little confused... why is everybody so surprised by this story? Examples of segregation occur all over America -- not quite as conspicuous as this story but existent nonetheless. Before you judge Mississippi, I would challenge you to take a look at your own neighborhood. Ask yourselves these questions...

- Do I live/work/spend time with a majority of people of my own or of a different race?
- Who are my close friends... are they of different or similar ethnic and social backgrounds as myself?
- In my city are there neighborhoods and suburbs with a majority of one racial mix of people?

I think if you're honest you will find that the answer to these questions may not be as pleasant (or progressive) as you would like. The fact is people tend to associate with others of their own kind and background... It's the herd instinct to be one of many -- not just one unique individual.

My personal example: In the downtown area of my city (Columbus, OH) -- which by the way is a very socially progressive city -- there are neighborhoods named after the original (circa 1800s) racial makeup of the people who lived there... we have German Village, Italian Village, Hungarian Village, Victorian Village... Even today we have school districts that are made up of a majority of one race or another. The district where I grew up (in rural Ohio) was predominantly white, the district I've lived in for the last two years (downtown) is primarily black -- the local high school has such a large African-American makeup that the team is named "The Afro-centric Nubian Wildcats"! I can point out suburbs that are predominantly White, Black, Asian, Latino, Somali, Pakistani, etc... Now is this evidence of racism? Maybe, maybe not. It really depends on the people -- I think that segregated communities reveal more about a person's parents and grandparents rather than the current generation.

A lot of people look at this story as if it was an awful or sad thing... Let's not forget that the civil rights movement is only 30 to 50 years old.... That's less than a generation -- not much time in historical terms! Racial and cultural equality is something that is still a work in progress... And this is the kind of progress we need to make! Congrats to these kids for realizing that this historic practice was antiquated and unjust...

Sent by Dan | 5:30 PM | 6-11-2008

I found this story to be very interesting and surprising in some ways and not so much in others.
One thing that did not surprise me was that it was the parents that wanted seperate proms. I have noticed this in my own life as well. My Grandparents are from Texas and still hold on to some of the racail generalizations and stereotypes they held at my age, which is 27. Generationaly speaking, it is always the younger generations who change. However, it did surprise me that it was the PARENTS who wanted seperate proms. I was expecting older generations to be opposed to interracial proms. Please note; I know not ALL older people are like this- only a few.
One other thing that surprised me was that it has been happening for years. Like the other bloggers, I too, am shocked that this sort of thing is still going on in American, but it is the deep south where a lot of racial baises still hold. I know this from first hand experience of traveling to the south and growing up in Oklahoma- not the deep south, I know, but close.

Sent by Julia from CO | 5:33 PM | 6-11-2008

I was shocked to learn that segregation like this still exists in the U.S. - I thought it was illegal!
Nobody seemed to notice, (about the 10th comment down), Whitney, who stated that the schools in Helena, AL are STILL SEGREGATED! Apparently a group of white racist individuals purchased a school for $1.00 and proceeded to make it a white school. This is ILLEGAL!

At least one school moved forward. To the racist parents of these kids- not allowing them to attend the prom- you disgust me.
Thank You to Morgan Freeman and all of those who participated.

Sent by Donna in San Diego | 5:48 PM | 6-11-2008

ya i liked it to it was cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!! big al mason

CLASS OF 2010??????????????????????

Sent by algerick mason | 9:29 PM | 6-11-2008

I am a native Mississippian who did not have the opportunity to have a senior year in high school in Fayette, Mississippi, as that was the year that desegregation was mandated (1970). To a teenager from a small town, that was a life-altering event. I went on to pursue my dream of music as a professional in Nashville for over 25 years, and two years ago I returned to my native state to work at Mississippi's most diverse public university, Delta State, about an hour away from Charleston High School. I was very pleased to know that Charleston High had accepted Morgan Freeman's offer to sponsor an integrated prom for this year's students. Someone asked Mr. Freeman once, "Why do you live in Mississippi? You could live anywhere in the world!" His reply was, "Because I could live anywhere in the world...I chose to come back to Mississippi." I did, too. And for those who are quick to judge Mississippi so harshly, I would invite you to come and spend some time among her people, many of whom are working tirelessly everyday to try and right the wrongs of injustice and inequity, and heal the old wounds of the past. Come and talk with us, let us share our food and music with you, let us tell you our stories, and perhaps you will see that we are becoming better human beings each day by learning to live with the lessons of our past as we continue to look to the day at a time.

Sent by Tricia Walker | 9:36 PM | 6-11-2008

Racism has been passed down through the generations. Charleston High School students you are the future, and hold the power to change your community. Attending an intergrated prom was your first stand against making a change in your community. Don't let it stop there. Get to know one another, support each other regardless of race. Know that when a black person is cut, he/she bleeds red blood, and the same goes for a white individual. We were definitely created equally in God's Will. It was humans who doesn't undedrstand the "created equal" part.

Sent by Kay | 10:10 PM | 6-11-2008

As a mother of a soon to be 8-yr old I admit that I am not a perfect parent. And I'm sure some of those parents in Mississippi thought they were "protecting their children." Like me you may be asking...'From what?' I dunno... but, to give them the benefit of the doubt, I have to believe that was their motivation. I am glad that some have allowed themselves to see clearly the OPPORTUNITIES that had been camouflaged as "threats." I hope that, in fact, these brave children will continue to change their community and their world for the better. Thank you for airing this story! I choose to be inspired!

Sent by An-African_American_Mom in NC | 10:20 PM | 6-11-2008

I attended one of the most memorable nights of my life April 19, 2008(prom). It was something that was exciting, relaxing, and fun. It was a night my class came together as one. We put all our differences aside and had a ball. Even though we didn't achieve our goal as for everyone being there whites and blacks we still had a great time. I hope this will continue.

Sent by Courtney Bradford | 10:49 PM | 6-11-2008

I grew up in a small town in rural North Carolina. As late as 1974, the town I lived in still had a city ordinance active on the books that black people couldn't walk the streets of Mayodan after dark. Know why the ordinance was voted out? Because my daddy was on the town council and my cousin Jason was of mixed ethnicity. My father fought hard to get it changed because he wasn't going to stand for a place where his own relative couldn't come visit him at night.

Like I said before, we've come a long way and we have a long way to go....the only way to get there is by honest and respectful dialogue.

Sent by Julie in North Carolina | 10:59 PM | 6-11-2008

I was totally blow away that there were still segregated proms goin on. How ancient. How uncivilised. Wake up people. This is the 21c.

Sent by Ian Mckenzie | 11:02 PM | 6-11-2008

First, let me say that I'm a fan of NPR, a voice of rational thought in a media environment often rife with reactionism and parroted dogma.

I grew up in the Deep South, in Alabama - Mississippi's next door neighbor, and I have devoted a lifetime of study to the art, culture and history of the region and its people. I've traveled throughout the Magnolia State, from the Hill Country to the Gulf Coast and can assure anyone who really is interested that Mississippi, this isolated circumstance aside, is a wonderful place, with wonderful people of all races and faiths. I've tailgated in The Grove in Oxford and danced all night in Delta Juke Joints and have been treated well throughout the state.

If one really wants to witness a spirit of cooperation between the races, I would suggest he visit Greenwood, MS., or Cleveland, or Clarksdale, all Delta towns, where civic pride has long transcended old differences and those municipalities have flourished.

There are still difficulties present in Mississippi - still people who cling to old, misplaced ideas and ideals. It is apparent to me now, as I read these responses, that that sort of thing doesn't exist anywhere else in this country. What a shame it is that the South just can't seem to follow the example of the rest of the country and create an environment free from racism and segregation, such as one might find in Compton or Watts in progressive Los Angeles, or in Harlem, or the Bronx, or Roxbury in Boston, or Baltimore, or...

Perhaps the attention given to this circumstance in Charleston, MS. may cause some of these good, upstanding Americans to look even deeper -- maybe even all the way down to the Gulf Coast where hundreds of thousands of Mississippians - black, white, yellow, red and every hue in between, are still trying to rebuild their lives in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, even though the rest of this country...and its government, seems to have forgotten them.

The primary issue in America is, and always has been, race, and the South has played a major role in keeping the issue in the forefront. The hidden blessing for the South in all this history of turmoil and upheaval is that Her failures have also denied the people of the region the luxury of becoming smug and condescending.

Sent by Davis Raines Nashville, TN | 11:15 PM | 6-11-2008

Please send this story to the NY Times, Chicago Tribune, and LA Times for posting.More of an audience needs to hear about this. Absolutely unbelievable in 2008. Wow.

Sent by mpeter | 11:27 PM | 6-11-2008

I am a native Tennessean and a child of the south in all its glory and despair. I do not find it shocking that this kind of thing is still going on because human nature--all human nature in my opinion--is resistant to change and fearful of it. But change does happen, slowly and full of mess, beginning with the day that the wrong is held up fully to the light and exposed. I am grateful for people like Morgan Freeman who help to bring about these events with decency and sensitivity rather than attacking with a verbal two by four because this is a generational issue, deeply ingrained in all the citizens. I'm also grateful for the students who had the courage to stand in their convictions because it is the young who so often lead us into change. Finally, I'm grateful for the great state of Mississippi that has given us so much through its music and culture. Visit the delta sometime; get to know the people, have a bite to eat (if you can stop at a bite!), listen to the blues, sample the folk art and be part of the new wind that is blowing down there.

Sent by Ashley Cleveland | 6:45 AM | 6-12-2008

I am dismayed, but not terribly surprised, by this story.

My home is 45 miles north of Detroit; which remains of the most racially segregated cities in the nation. Geographic regionality bears an unfortunately small weight on the closed-mindedness of bigotry that America is still plagued with. In our defense, this week's news out of South Africa indicates that we remain among a global population which finds itself continuing to struggle with identifying all humans as having equal value independent of skin color.

While it's very likely that a small-ish percentage of (insert deep-south state) residents are protectionist, bigoted fools, that subtle undercurrent of disapproval lurks in every small corner and every moment where the voice of active opposition cannot be heard. In November, we have an opportunity to, at least on surface, join with far more socially progressive countries, by electing a leader who isn't a cookie-cutter version of every other who has gone before him, but the only way that shift will manifest is if we, as a society, continue to whisper, and then talk, and then SHOUT our need for tolerance and change.

Sent by Arietta, Oxford MI | 8:58 AM | 6-12-2008

I was really disappointed by the interviewer - she was very condescending to Chasidy Buckely... "Did you ever think about this? Did it ever occur to you that?" That loaded, judgmental questioning isn't likely to make anyone more forthcoming, and I applaud Ms. Buckley for not telling the interviewer to take her holier-than-thou attitude and sod off. It is a sad story, but it's not NPR's role to judge and alienate.

Sent by Elizabeth | 9:04 AM | 6-12-2008

I was so shocked by this article, I went online to the Charleston Miss. government site to let them know what I thought about their prom. On the website they pride themselves in being in the top 9% of racial diversity in the state. What does that say about the rest of Mississippi?

Sent by Vickie | 9:35 AM | 6-12-2008

Am I surprised? yes, I am
Am I shocked? No.

Just last year NPR reported on another town that had been having separate proms.

Sad that in the XXIst Century people still do stuff like this. And to add salt to injury, parents preventing their kids from going and/or holding a separate prom.

The ultimate insult.

Sent by Jesus Roberto Rivera | 9:49 AM | 6-12-2008

I think that most people would like to believe that type of racism does not exist in the US. Unfortunately it does. I would like to know how many blacks were "surprised, shocked" about this. I would say not very many. Some blacks say they prefer to live in the south where the prejudice, racism and partiality are out in the open. At least they know where they stand. It is sad, but not shocking.

Sent by Jim Trenton | 12:17 PM | 6-12-2008

I was very surprised to see this. Did you research schools around the state of MS and around the country to see if high school proms, not sponsored by the school, may be a common practice? I graduated from high school in MS in 1982, and the prom was not segregated. Seeing the caption for this article, some people would immediately assume that MS is still segregated. Was that your intent? To create a misrepresentation of the state as a whole. I think perhaps you should bring all the facts to light here. There is not a big race issue in this state as a whole....

Sent by sheri | 2:11 PM | 6-12-2008

"This article surprised me, but maybe it shouldn't have. I guess the rural South is a long ways from liberal California, where the State Supreme Court just ruled that banning gay marriage is unconstitutional and where interracial couples are barely remarkable. "

You might think that but you need to read some of the comments that were posted in response to a story of a white girl who was raped by a black man in Palo Alto in the San Jose Mercury news, and whenever a crime story about Oakland is reported. I was appalled at the kind of statements people were posting. I grew up in North Carolina and heard some of the exact same things 25 years ago that were being posted today, in the Bay Area. I've had Latinos here make racist comments about blacks to me in private. I couldn't believe my ears.

If people can't accept that racism is alive and well everywhere in the United States (and really, everywhere, period), then we will never get past it. It's just more out in the open in the South.

Sent by Shannon Wells | 2:53 PM | 6-12-2008

I also wanted to add - this is for you seniors at your first integrated proms there in Charleston - you all look so beautiful and classy! It's so nice to see everyone having a good time and moving beyond the legacy of racism to just be together and enjoy being human. God bless you, congratulations on your graduation and I wish you all the best in your future.

Sent by Shannon Wells | 2:58 PM | 6-12-2008

Okay is it me or don't these kids already go to school together, play sports together, go to other social events together (or are those segregated as well???), live in the same town...what is the big deal about prom??? Why has it taken so long for them to integrate this praticular event? What exactly was the school's motivation for keeping it segregated until now???

Sent by tab | 3:02 PM | 6-12-2008

It is awful to read that segregation still lives anywhere in the country, but it is just as awful to read the blatent biggotry against a whole state or region. While Mississippi or Arkansas or the South or the North or the West Coast or any other part of the country may have specific problems, it is just as discriminatory to classify and write off all people of any group, including a state or region. There are noble people and flawed people in every people group.

I've just returned from Bay St. Louis, MI, where they eye of Hurricane Katrina made landfall. I took a group of 30 high school students and leaders of mixed races. We helped with the ongoing process of rebuilding, and we were received with gratitude, grace, and affection by ALL the people we met. Perhaps if those of you who seem to hold Mississippi in contempt would go there, connect with some people, and give of yourselves, you would find that state to be as filled with good people as not.

Sent by Jim Weber | 4:09 PM | 6-12-2008

By the way, this issue goes to the heart of racism in America: The protection of the white woman. This is what kept schools from being integrated. It is what kept public pools segregated or abandoned once they had to integrate.

Sent by Jim Trenton | 5:00 PM | 6-12-2008

I was shocked when I first heard this report but after remembering a recent personal experience, I am no longer surprised.

I am a female in my early 30s and I work in IT; recently, I attended a very intense technical 2-day workshop. At the end of the workshop, a male student I have never met before asked me if the workshop "is over my head" and when I replied "no", he was shocked and said, "oh, so you are getting it?" Why shouldn't I? I screamed in my head ...

I have been working in IT for 8 years and this recently experience made me realized I was somewhat delusional; I thought people in IT field are pretty used to the idea of having female techies ...

That is why I am no longer surprised at this report ...

Sent by Mavis | 7:53 PM | 6-12-2008

I was the hiphop artist that the piece alludes to. Check out the "bonus" column. I wrote it shortly after headlining the prom. My column appears in a Jackson, MS alt-weekly called The Jackson Free Press.

Ironically those kids did not havenearly the racial baggage that some of their parents did(or do). Even despite the best efforts of some old diehards, these kids have perhaps ushered in a new day for my state. Im proud and honored to have been part of history. And though there are some who wish to continue old traditions and views..or deny that racism still exists here..or better yet make excuses for continuing it like Justin Mcelroy above, Mississippi HAS begun a much needed dialogue to unearth old ghosts and lay them to rest for good. You guys should dig deeper. We're making SOME progress. comment at

Sent by Kamikaze | 8:54 PM | 6-12-2008

I agree with Jim Trenton... I think the people who are shocked are the people who don't have to experience racism. Not to criticize anyone who responded... I just think it's a reminder that white people don't have to think about racism in the same way that non-whites do. I'm glad that people think segregation is wrong, though.

I think it's sad that there are still segregated proms. However, the fact that many of the kids didn't want segregated proms proves that we have made some progress in this country. I mean, it shows there is hope.

The reality is, many people still live in segregated communities. If you have minimal contact with people of other races, religions, or cultures, it is much easier to be prejudiced against them. If you are taught prejudice / racism, then you have no life experience to contradict these beliefs. This is why racism persists... we are still living with the legacy of slavery and probably will be for a long time. Sad, undesirable, but true.

Lastly, for everyone claiming segregated proms are illegal... it would only be illegal if the prom was sponsored by the school. As mentioned on the BPP, the town got around this by hosting private proms. You can invite or not invite anyone you want to a party.

If I understand the law correctly, private organizations are allowed to discriminate since they are private and not funded by the government. For example, any fraternal organization, such as the Freemasons, can legally not allow women to join. Country Clubs use social class as a determining factor for membership. If they were public institutions, it would be a different story.

Sent by April | 12:33 AM | 6-13-2008

Shame on this community for allowing this to continue in the 21st century and THANK YOU Morgan Freeman for continuing to pursue this and making it finally happen. I hope if there are still other communities out there in the same situation they will begin to finish this process completely. We are all human under one sun on one earth - it's so past the time of segregation.

Sent by Lisa Arm | 12:01 PM | 6-13-2008

April, I was wondering when someone was going to point out that these parties (they call them Proms) are not illegal. It's your right as a human to invite who you want to something you are funding. This doesn't stop people from being able to point it out though. I am almost positive that the law doesn't allow for businesses to exclude customers based on race. Plus you can sue for just about anything in this country.

When I first heard about segregated proms, I was surprised that such blatant racism was being supported by a whole town. Note: BLATANT racism, since I know that racism is alive and well in the systems of this country and prejudice is alive and well in the comments I hear on a weekly basis.

I hope the attempts to truly integrate this community do not stop at the prom. I went to a high school with an International Baccalaureate Program as well as a 'traditional' high school curriculum. While we were 'integrated' in all attending the same school, most were not intergrated in our social lives. For awhile that left the clubs & teams at the school partially integrated, but as Ive seen my siblings attend this same High School I've watched a significant drop in semisocial integration. This is because real relationships between the two groups were not fostered. There were systems in place that created a division between the groups. This is what's happening with integration within our schools. They have stopped focusing on creating meanful exchanges between different races and just left it to 'chance.'

This school system needs to take the initiative to foster the interracial friendships. If the kids are sitting racially separated in the classrooms, assign seats where they can get to know each other or do group projects where they must work together across racial boundries. It's hard for white people to feel like the minority (I know, Im a white person and been the minority within many groups), it takes sucking up their pride. But we need to do it! We're better for it!

Sent by Tara | 1:44 PM | 6-13-2008

I just finished listening to Laura's piece on racism today and found myself getting irked. If we all agree that a race-blind society is the ideal, why are those of us who are working in this direction considered doubly defective? We not only are not only racist, but because we don't acknowledge it, we are also accused of being insensitive. At the very least if we do not admit that race plays a role in our everyday lives and that racism is alive and well in our community then we are unobservant or ignorant. The message I get from this is that we must ascertain the race of people we come into contact with, understand the historical perspective of how people of this race have been treated previously, and then figure out how we are going to deal with them. Please forgive me if I have constructed a straw man here, but this is the closest I can come to understanding what was said. To me this is not only unforgivably racist, but mires us in the past. We are instructed to continually pick at the scabs of history thus ensuring the wounds won't heal. If a person claims to not be racist and strives to treat all people equally, can't we give them the benefit of the doubt? Indeed shouldn't this be what we are all aiming for?

Because I am white I must be racist. Because I am male I must be sexist, or worse, misogynistic. Because I earn a good wage I must be classist. Because I am educated I must be elitist. Because I am straight I must be a homophobe. Because I am thin I must be weightist, and because I am relatively young I must be ageist. Lastly, because I refuse to accept these faults I must also be deluding myself. I was raised Catholic, but even so this is a lot of guilt to carry around. If I am judged I would rather it be by my words and my actions not the circumstances of my birth. I'm don't understand why someone would want anything different.

I am aware that racism and many other forms of discrimination exist, and I have even encountered them a few times. Each time I have done my level best to fix it including ending one friendship. I attest, however, I am not a racist, race plays no part in my day to day life, and I am neither ignorant nor blind. I'll skip the obligatory list of how diverse my friends and neighbors are. It doesn't matter. What does matter is that I try to treat everyone I meet as a human being, and it makes me angry when I am told that this is either wrong or not good enough.

Sent by Dave Wiley | 2:22 PM | 6-13-2008

I, too, had to read the whole story to see if it was true. When I read the headline, I thought it must be a joke. I grew up in a town in central Florida where the blacks lived literally on one side of the tracks and the whites on the other. When I moved there from the midwest, I was astonished - even at the age of 12. But despite the separations by neighborhood, we had integrated events including our prom. A friend of mine and I used to venture over the tracks on Friday and Saturday nights to the youth center in "the quarters" to dance and hang out with our black friends. We were always greeted kindly, albeit with some curiosity amongst some of the crowd. I can't believe the tradition in that town was still going on until 2008. Hooray for them for finally breaking down the barriers!

Sent by David Madigan | 10:57 PM | 6-15-2008

This town is an anomaly. I am a Mississippi native who has moved to New England for work. I would actually say that Mississippi is FAR more integrated than the north. It is true that Mississippi has had its racial problems, but it has come farther than any other area. It is easy to have no racial tension when there is only one racial group, as is the case in the regions of the country that are self proclaim "progressive" areas.

Sent by Andy | 2:40 PM | 6-16-2008

I agree with Andy. I am from Mississippi and have lived in many other parts of the country. Mississippi IS more integrated than other regions. People who live in other parts of the country hide their own racism under banners such as "at least we're not Mississippi".

Sent by Sarah | 11:41 AM | 6-17-2008

Thank God for Morgan Freeman! He has made me aware of something which I had no idea. In the words of Maya Angelou, "When you know better, you do better."

Sent by Donna Sparkman | 12:38 AM | 6-20-2008

im not surprised. We still have "clan towns" so naturally there is going to to be some little backwoods school that is still segregated. No one is going to speak up because the people living there or at least the majority are in favor of it and keep everyone else quiet.

Sent by Pocohontas | 10:06 PM | 6-22-2008

Thanks for stepping up Morgan, you changed the world, and I never expected anything less from you!

Sent by Jesus | 12:36 AM | 6-29-2008

I graduated from Greenwood High School in 1975 and yes we did have segregated proms, a black and white Miss and Mr. GHS and both of everything even black and white administrators, but only one Homecoming Queen. All of the students got along in school and were very friendly to each other, but we never did anything off the school grounds socially together. I went away to college and never returned except for visiting friends. When I was notified about a class reunion, I don't know why I thought it would include everyone. It did not; we had our reunion and the whites had theirs. This bothered me and was actually a discussion at the picnic. One of my classmates was on the same email distribution as the white students and once they found out or remembered that he was black; he was immediately taken off their list.

Unfortunately, I have not returned to Mississippi since then, but am very happy to see this change come about- even if it is 2008. It is long overdue. Class of 1975 - Get it together

Sent by Deborah Jackson Robinson | 2:39 PM | 6-30-2008

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