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Not Just Another Prom

Prior to last weekend, Ashburn, Georgia, was known for two things: peanuts and its Fire Ant Festival. Now it’s also the town where Turner County High School, after decades of allowing parents to organize private segregated dances, hosted its first-ever integrated prom. It only makes sense: This is 2007, after all, and the 455-student school is roughly half African American and half white. Upperclassman voted in favor of one official dance. But some traditions die hard, as a 2001 graduate of TCHS made clear: “The white people have [their proms], and the black people have theirs. It’s nothing racial at all.” In fact, the parents of some students went ahead and hosted a private all-white dance a week earlier, which rubbed parents standing outside the integrated prom the wrong way. “That’s just like you’re cooking a half-baked cake, putting the icing on it, and when you cut the cake, the cake ain’t no good,” one mother claimed. “That’s how this prom is.” Still, the 150 students who attended the historic event seemed to enjoy themselves, one calling the night “perfect.” And school superintendent Ray Jordan rightly commended the kids for “making a difference for themselves and for future students.”

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