April 5th, 2013
09:40 AM ET

'New tradition' for Georgia students: Their first racially integrated prom

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By Jamie Gumbrecht, CNN

(CNN) - As Quanesha Wallace remembers, it was around this time last year when the idea first came up at Wilcox County High School. It was nothing big, just chatter about prom, school, what comes next, what they'd change.

If things were different, someone said, we'd all go to the same prom.

For as long as anyone could remember, students in their South Georgia community went to separate proms, and homecoming dances, too. White students from Wilcox County attend one. Black students, another. They’re private events organized by parents and students, not the school district. Schools have long been desegregated, but in Wilcox County, the dances never changed.WGXA

The friends all agreed they'd go to an integrated prom, Quanesha said, and when they asked, others said, "Yeah, I'd go, too."

"We are all friends," Quanesha's friend, Stephanie Sinnot, told CNN affiliate WGXA-TV in Macon, Georgia. "That's just kind of not right that we can't go to prom together."

So now it's April, and prom is coming up, and these black and white friends, longtime pals who go to classes together and play sports together and hang out together, are going to prom together, too. For the first time, students are organizing an integrated dance, one that welcomes any of Wilcox County High's 400 students.

"This is going to be the biggest prom ever to come through Wilcox County," said Quanesha, one of the event's organizers.

The theme will be "Masquerade Ball in Paris." There will be an Eiffel Tower and Mardi Gras-style masks, dancing, flowers, catered food and a clubhouse in nearby Cordele. They're expecting gowns, ties, manicures, up-dos, sparkle. Quanesha has a date, although she hasn't decided on a dress.

"If you want to get fancy, get fancy," said Quanesha, 18. "If you don't, that's fine."

Attendees will vote on a king and queen but also cutest couple, best smile, best dressed. They'll do a recognition ceremony for a classmate who died. They'll start a new prom tradition: a unity toast.

By Thursday afternoon, about 50 tickets had sold for the integrated prom. They're aiming for 100. They're not sure they'll make it.

Not everybody is excited about the idea. Posters for the integrated prom were torn off the walls of the high school. Students who usually plan dances didn't get involved with this one. Nothing was different about this year's homecoming dances: Quanesha, the queen, is black. The king, white. She thought she might get an invite to the other prom, but they went to separate dances, and appear in separate yearbook photos, she said.

In a statement posted on the school district’s website Thursday, Wilcox County Superintendent Steve Smith stressed the segregated proms aren’t organized by the school.

When students approached him about hosting an integrated prom, Smith wrote, he and the county’s board of education “not only applauded their idea, but we also passed a resolution advocating that all activities involving our students be inclusive and nondiscriminatory.

“I fully support these ladies, and I consider it an embarrassment to our schools and community that these events have portrayed us as bigoted in any way.”

The statement was no longer on the schools' website Thursday night, but a new statement posted by Friday morning said the high school's principal "will place the 2014 Prom on its agenda for its next meeting."

Smith did not return CNN's phone calls or e-mails.

Wilcox County is not the only place with a racially segregated prom, nor is it the only one that's attracted widespread attention in recent years. In the 2009 documentary “Prom Night in Mississippi,” director Paul Saltzman followed the preparations for the first integrated prom in Charleston, Mississippi. Actor Morgan Freeman, a native of the area, offered in 1997 to cover the cost if the school board would hold an integrated prom, but the offer wasn’t accepted till 2008.

Students and parents say it's hard to spark conversation that breaks what's now seen as tradition.

"I've lived here all my life. Nobody pushed the issue. This year, these children - we didn’t have any idea it was going to go as it did," Quanesha's mother, Linda Wallace, said Thursday. "Before we knew it, it was like a wildfire."

Indeed, Wilcox County's integrated prom has gotten a lot of attention this week. Schools in the county of about 9,000 residents are on spring break, but while classes were out, the prom story appeared on the local news, and the story spread. They'd been raising money for the prom all year, and some donations helped, but they've picked up a lot in the last few days. The prom's Facebook page drew thousands of fans since it was set up Wednesday.

Most of the comments are positive. "Your efforts will open the eyes of many. I applaud your courage and hopefulness. Continue your fight for change this year and every year, not just in your school but throughout your community. It just takes one person to change the world," one person wrote.

"You are civil rights leaders of 2013!" another wrote. "I am so encouraged by what you are doing. I believe that your generation has the power to make things better. Keep going and never give up."

Still, Quanesha is a little nervous about returning to school Monday. A lot of parents and students support them, she said, but she knows some don't. Why else, after all these years, were they still holding dances that segregated white and black students?

"I’m all about sticking together, reasoning with each other," Quanesha said. "We have very strong-minded students at Wilcox County. I hope they’re there to back each other up."

The friends and organizers are trying to enjoy it. Soon, most of them will be graduating. Quanesha plans to go to college to study psychology. She said she's not going too far from home for now. She wants to make sure the prom keeps going, and she can come back to help encourage the underclassmen who will have to take it on next.

"I don't want to just leave them hanging. I know we're going to leave them a little money," Quanesha said.

"New tradition. Leave them a little something so it won't be so hard for them like it was hard for us."

Follow us on Twitter @CNNschools.

Posted by
Filed under: Extracurricular • High school • Parents • Prom • Students
soundoff (1,154 Responses)
  1. Anicka WInfield

    First i want to just say that this is ridiculous. Why even in this day and age we still look at color is beyond me. We call this place the "United" States and "the Land of the Free" yet so many of us still choose to be divided. We're all are born with the same capabilities and that includes change. Why continue to fight this current. There is no true justification for it. We are all Human at the end of the day. No Less No More.

    April 18, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • Jackson

      These are privately organized events, the parents are making these decisions. As much as anyone black likes to admit, they can be as racist or worse than the whites, and I would bet a high dollar that it was the black side that had a bigger problem with it.

      April 18, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
      • Concerned

        The fact that you felt the need to make such a comment shows your ignorance on this situation. Instead of rejoicing on finally coming together in 2013 "smh", we continue to point fingers on who we "believe" had more say (blacks)??? Do we know this for sure? Probbaly Not. Sad to know that in 2013, Current and previous generations still revolve around racisim. SMH

        April 18, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
    • CC

      Brilliantly worded. Thank you Anicka.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
  2. Starchylde

    The hell? How does his still exist in the modern day?

    April 18, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
  3. TheMunkinutz

    The sad part about this is that it's both sides of the isle that heve kept the segregation. There are still many of our elders who tell our youth not to trust someone who is caucasian; and vice versa. This must stop and I hope very soon. It has been almost 150 years passed since the American Civil War, (also the same amount of time since the 15th Ammendment was passed), 55 years since the Civil Rights Movement, and almost five years since we've had a president of color. We, as a nation, must address and weed out these areas to move forward and truly prgress past racism, no matter the color or lack thereof.

    April 18, 2013 at 10:56 am |
  4. Chance

    I am an idiot

    April 18, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • Jessica Simpson

      yes you are!

      April 18, 2013 at 10:42 am |
  5. Ethan

    This makes Georgia look amazing 🙂

    April 18, 2013 at 10:40 am |
  6. Hannah

    Thats messed up! a segregated prom what the fudge! Jesus christ almighty!

    April 18, 2013 at 10:39 am |
  7. lmori

    Even though the school didn't organize or pay for the proms, I'm sure they still allowed students to hang posters about the proms and put photos from the proms in the yearbooks. They are as complicit in this activity as they would be if a student run neo-nazi group was allowed to put up posters about an off campus hate rally.

    April 18, 2013 at 10:09 am |
  8. Eugene

    is this a joke? My word Yanks, please this is disgraceful

    April 18, 2013 at 10:07 am |
    • Hannah

      Thats How i feel.

      April 18, 2013 at 10:40 am |
  9. Aman


    April 18, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • Stay Out

      Don't blame GA or the south for this one community!!!!!

      April 18, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • Seth

      Bigotry is strong in the north as well. This not only happens in the South but in the North as well. It's sad that you feel that the backbone of this country are bigots and racists. There's only a few that are still like that because of how they were raised.

      April 18, 2013 at 10:39 am |
      • Rob

        You are right Seth!

        April 18, 2013 at 10:40 am |
      • Sarah

        So true!!!

        April 18, 2013 at 10:40 am |
      • Jessica Simpson

        I want to date you Seth!!!

        April 18, 2013 at 10:41 am |
      • Jacob

        Are you implying that the South is the backbone of our country? They (as a region) produce the least amount of wealth and take the most in federal government aid.

        April 19, 2013 at 6:04 am |
  10. James

    Can't believe this kind of thing is still going on.–It takes the students to change things. Good for them–

    April 18, 2013 at 9:30 am |

    In the year 2013 not 17something this obnoxious type of behavior can still go on. after having so many black leaders and even a black president. these members of this blacking hating cult can still find place in this country to feed this garbage to their children and children children s. I so happy that these children is refusing to eat or drink this garbage support them all I congratulate you all kids for refusing to accept the garbage. Do not quit on unity. Parents is not always right and they do need to be corrected at times.

    April 18, 2013 at 6:35 am |
  12. kyozion

    Racism disguised as "tradition" pretty sad this still occurs.

    April 18, 2013 at 2:12 am |
  13. dsneider

    I had no idea this still occurred in this country.

    April 17, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
    • quadrophenia1

      No kidding. This is a fantastic example of how isolated and slow moving, small-town southern America is. These problems still exist nationally, but It's obvious things haven't moved a fraction on an inch in the South. It hasn't changed one bit in the last 50 years.

      April 18, 2013 at 5:39 am |
      • Southern White Woman


        April 18, 2013 at 11:13 am |
  14. sallfham

    Wow – finally an integrated prom.
    Maybe in another 100 years, they'll start integrating their churches.

    April 17, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
  15. DanieLouWho

    Racism does not only happen in America people.

    Racism is defined as – a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others.

    Now with that in mind, everyone is a racists and everyone at one time in their life has been discriminated against. Unless you are Mother Theresa or Gandhi stop casting stones.

    April 17, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
  16. Curious College Student

    I'm an international student, and I can never figure out why there are all black sororities and fraternities and all white sororities and fraternities in a diverse university. Could someone please help me figure this out?

    April 17, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
    • DanieLouWho

      It is a cultural thing. We each have our own history and feel comfortable with our own race.

      April 17, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
      • Jim Wangsness

        Yes Danie: I like your simple explanation. Sometimes it's not racism but simply a matter of being with those we feel most comfortable with because of a shared culture. "birds of a feather"..... as the saying goes.

        April 18, 2013 at 12:11 am |
      • InterestingInfo

        There was a policy like this once called separate development, we each prefer to be with our own"kind" of people was the thinking. Most people know that policy by the Afrikaans translation which was called Apartheid.....

        April 18, 2013 at 6:17 am |
      • Jackson

        Convenient answer there. Careful, your true colors are bleeding through..

        April 18, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • Starchylde

      Not all frats or sororities are all black or all white; not to mention there are other races

      April 18, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
  17. mitch

    really Georgia, this still exists?

    April 17, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
    • whysuchcraziness

      YES it still happens, it is in the south! It will forever be plagued by ignorance and hatred, it is sad that now some towns see it as socially acceptable and above reproach to even challenge such a ridiculous “custom”. Mississippi ratified the 14th Amendment in 1995; umm about 224 years after the first state passed the amendment, that alone says something. Some people just refuse to let go of the hatred.

      April 17, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
      • Southern White Woman

        Not just in the south, foo.

        April 18, 2013 at 11:34 am |
  18. Tony

    The one thing that I don't see in the comments is a defense of people's right to be racists. There is no law against racism. It is a choice that people are free to make. There is nothing morally or inherently wrong with preferring to socialize within a particular group. It just makes your experience as a human less rich.

    Cultural poverty is the free choice of the unenlightened. I think it is good to have a racially integrated choice. I would have no interest in making it the only choice. It is not a matter of right or wrong. Of course, I probably would have spiked the punch at all three. 🙂

    April 17, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • A.

      are you trolling here or what?

      April 17, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
      • Southern White Woman

        No, they're just not being idiotic.
        You cannot control a person's right to speak their mind, if they are racist, get. over. it.
        That's their choice and you insulting and degrading them is not going to change that.
        For example, would you treat an atheist differently than a person of the same religion as you? I would hope not because if you did then that would be just as terrible as racism.
        Bless your heart, you need to reconsider your question.

        April 18, 2013 at 11:36 am |
    • Patrick

      Huh? Yes being racist is morally wrong. No we can't control people's feelings, but hating or treating someone as inferior because they're a different race is definately immoral. I'm not sure if you were trying to say something along the lines of we shouldn't inhibid free speech, but that doesnt effect the morallity of the act.
      Racism is hate based on nothing but appearances. Thats called evil.

      April 18, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
  19. smar

    I feel like this article came circa 1970. I am dumbfounded that this still exists. Way to go students. 'Bout time.

    April 17, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
  20. netglobal

    I can't believe that there are still segregrated Proms in 2013. What an F'd up country we live in.

    April 17, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
    • Bob

      It's not the country it's the counties stuck in the old segregated days.

      April 17, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
  21. Frederick Bailey

    Just don't play Rap and they will go away.

    April 17, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • Jen

      To which race or ethnic group are you referring? My white friends listen to more rap than any of my black friends. Dont be a fool.

      April 17, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
  22. XanJester

    I'm confused. Isn't segregation illegal? So why isn't the school board in jail?

    April 17, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • Wahoowalex

      The school board, county, and schools don't host the dances and other formals. They were all always thrown privately.

      April 17, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
      • lmori

        Even though the school didn't organize or pay for the proms, I'm sure they still allowed students to hang posters about the proms and put photos from the proms in the yearbooks. They are as complicit in this activity as they would be if a student run neo-nazi group was allowed to put up posters about an off campus hate rally.

        April 18, 2013 at 10:08 am |
  23. Jennifer R

    Our children mostly learn what we as parents teach them. And our children learn from what we say and do. The black and white parent in this area have gotten so use to the idea of a separate prom. Many of these black and white parents work together and sit and talk to each other everyday but still allow this ignorant tradition of a separate prom for their black and white children. Its about the parents holding on to an easy but ignorant tradition and not for the reason that none of them ever thought about having one prom. The thought has occurred of one prom but which parent was brave enuough to say it outloud. I am 40 something black woman that grew up in the South. Its kind of humorous to read some of the ideas about the way southern people live. Racism is not just something in the South. I am an US Army spouse that has live all over the US and around the world. And yes I have experience racism and I have experienced love and kindness from all races. I say a job well done to all the students that had the guts to speak out and want to unify. These young people realize the world is a much bigger place than the little town they live in and that one day they will go out into that world to live and for higher education. Yes Racism does exist and as long as we have different races, it will remain. Racism is wrong on all parts and we have to teach our children not to judge anyone based on their skin color or racial origin.

    April 17, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
  24. Not so black-and-white?

    I'm curious about how this "segregation" works in modern America. If I'm mixed-race, can I choose which prom I want to go to? Or do the planning committees have a Genealogy Chair? And what if I'm Asian, or Hispanic, or a mix of any or all of these? Do I have to create my own dance if I want to go to prom? (I don't know about this particular county, but I grew up in Alabama, and I can say for certain that other places in the South have people of Asian and Hispanic heritage.) We're no longer governed by the "one-drop rule", and race isn't so black-and-white anymore.

    I understand that change doesn't come easily, but I do think these students should be applauded for being brave enough to create something that reflects their own current reality. Blind adherence to the status quo isn't productive for a society, and it takes a strong person to recognize when something isn't working, and to speak up for a new way of doing things.

    Yes, those past segregated proms were student-organized, and driven by whatever socioeconomic realities they perceived at the time. This group of students is now perceiving a different social structure among themselves, and they want to have a prom that reflects it. To me, that's what makes this whole thing so amazing–it's a much more hopeful sign for the South than any school board-forced integration or administration-organized prom. Here's hoping it's a smashing success!

    April 17, 2013 at 10:14 am |
  25. Dobt feed in

    Dont yall think its funny that a post about race is one of the stories where the comments are not disabled. They want this argument between races. The want the hate and to pin ppl agaist each other. Yall donr see that! Wake up! When they come down on us we will need each other.... ALL RACES NORTH AND SOUTH. They look at us like ants fighting each other and you ppl give in. So sad

    April 17, 2013 at 8:36 am |
    • KT

      Well, this is not surprising, I am from Maine 98% white state, I went to school in Pittsburgh, and there I saw first hand racism against blacks and Chinese this is 2004-2012, The further south you go it get worst, resturants still segregate seating based on skin color, the thing is people who are raised in the south are used to it, while a foreigner/flat lander such as myself more specifically from a isloated state picked up on it quickly and its very disturbing

      April 17, 2013 at 11:51 am |
      • met

        Do you think racism exists from blacks to whites etc...???????? Or, can only whites be racist???

        April 17, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
      • CR

        I'm from WV, and have never ate at a segregated restaurant, nor would I. I'm not sure what southern state you experienced this in, but believe me I would find it disturbing also.

        April 17, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
      • Starchylde

        Actually, no; I'm from Georgia, and there is no segregation in most places. It's only a few isolated places

        April 18, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
      • D

        Well said KT! AMEN TO THAT!!

        April 18, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
  26. Charles

    So what prom do the asians and hispanics go to.

    April 17, 2013 at 7:49 am |
  27. Joe Smith

    everyone down here in the south loves two things

    and guns

    leave us and our beliefs alone so sick of you Liberals and UN forces coming in and taking our beliefs, flag, and other crap you bunch of stupid morans

    so sick of this crap

    April 17, 2013 at 6:27 am |
    • ReasonedDiscourse

      Oh, honey. I'm SO hoping you're a troll.

      April 17, 2013 at 10:17 am |

      Mr. SMITH... Yeah you are right on the money, nailed it Bro.... its the F-ing Liberals but very few people realize as you do Joe that The UN is to blame, WOW how did you figure it out Joe... Blow (me) I hope you have lots of children cause we sure need you to pass on the STUPID GENE.....

      April 17, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • Jay Serna

      forgot white people.
      Jesus, guns & white people.
      Don't worry Jesus still loves everybody; he's still holding out hope for Joe Smith. Very orginal name.

      April 17, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • valjan

      And the earth is 5000 years old... yea

      April 17, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Tony

      Hi Joe,

      I grew up in the South and have to take exception with your characterization of everyone in the South. I am not a follower of Jesus (seems like a nice guy) and I prefer edged weapons to guns with regard to home defense. I think they are safer for all concerned.

      One of the consistent problems that I encountered growing up is the inertia of the unthinking majority in the South. They all "know" so many things that are true because "everybody" believes them. The south would be much better off if some of this "knowledge" was more consistently challenged. Sadly, the only response that this majority seems to have is violence as they seem a bit short on thoughts.

      April 17, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • Starchylde

      I would like to apologize for behalf of the South for this man; he does not represent us all

      April 18, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
  28. packerhq

    This report is tainted. Let me explain. I was raised in the midwest and came to Georgia 17 years ago. I hired the first non white in my company and thought as many of you do but have since learned a very import lesson.

    Separation of black/white in the South is driven by BOTH sides ! I have 2 very close friends here that are black and if you talk with some of the relatives etc they very much want their children segregated from whites.

    My point is the issues is equally as bad on both sides and unless you have seen and heard this first hand it's very hard to explain. Many families just don't want to change... it baffles me daily .

    A very complex issue that CNN has tried to make look one sided and fairly simple. It's just not

    April 17, 2013 at 6:27 am |
    • ReasonedDiscourse

      Yes, both you and CNN miss the salient point that these students are moving past that self-segregation. They no longer see it as reflecting the reality of their world–and I hope you'll agree that this is a very good sign, and join me in cheering them on.

      April 17, 2013 at 10:23 am |
  29. stacengtyu10

    Wow, I just didn't think this still went on in the USA but I live in NZ. What amazing students to go with whats right and not what has always been done – it takes courage regardless of what the year is.

    April 17, 2013 at 4:18 am |
  30. Bruce Rubin

    I can just imagine science class at this school

    April 17, 2013 at 2:42 am |
    • met

      Yeah, well if you truly believed in Science you would know that there are many differences amongst the races besides skin color! YOUR ARE STUPID!

      April 17, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
      • Patrick

        What? What a stupid thing to say. If he believed in science he would know that? What? Are you talking about how black people generally have tight curly hair, while white people generally dont? Good thing I believe in science and was given that amazing knowledge...

        April 18, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
  31. Real Talk

    I'm white, late 30s, live in San Francisco, studied in the East Coast for post-grad.. I feel fortunate to have never been subjected to living around any form of racism and have lived most of my life in wonderfully diverse communities: black/white/asian/latino/euro..

    What's hopeful to me is seeing that most of my friends and co-workers near my age group, whether they are in South Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Texas, or any other corner of the country, everyone is relatable, everyone shares the same disdain for any form of ignorance, especially racism.

    Education and evolution is a beautiful thing, because I see these obsoleted ways of thinking trending out even more so among the 'millennials'. While it is naive to think racism/classism will go away, I am positive that the ignorance of bigotry in the United States will continue to dissipate.

    It's actually quite funny when an outright racist or outspoken nationalist visits a city like San Francisco or New York and you can see in their eyes the self-realization of how narrow and limited the whole basis of their thinking has been

    April 16, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
  32. Chris

    It's sad how pathetic the south is.
    All they care about is hunting animals, fighting for the right to own guns, and hating blacks.

    April 16, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
    • joevinci

      Kind of rude making it sound like all people in the south are like this. And what's wrong with wanting gun rights?

      April 17, 2013 at 5:10 am |
    • Southern Lady

      Chris, not all people in the South are like that. Many of us are intelligent, tolerant, kind, and vegetarian. Having lived and traveled across the United States and the world, I've realized that there is a terrible epidemic of ignorance everywhere. It's very unfair to make such broad and undeserving declarations about the South.

      April 17, 2013 at 8:33 am |
      • Bill

        Appreciate the overall tone of your contribution.....but wondering what 'vegetarian' has to do with it? Do you have to be 'vegetarian' to be enlightened, suddenly? Wow, that's a whole new class of snobbery being opened up if that's the case.....

        April 19, 2013 at 1:56 am |
    • Logic Al

      Actually, you will need to add "And hates whites" because this segregation is not one-sided. Those from the black side are just as racist as the ones on the white side. For those who have never experienced this, it may come as a surprise (like it did to me many years ago when I moved to the South after growing up never having a clue what racism was. It was never taught to me and our small town had multiple races who were friends.) The bottom line is that assumptions are stupid because many of these communities are segregated because both sides choose it. I applaud these kids for standing up for a new era!

      April 17, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • met

      You, sir. Have no idea what you are talking about! How many blacks do you know???? Do you not think that these blacks also prefer it this way???? I lived in NY most of my life and thought just as you do now, but I moved SC on a job and learned the hard way that most blacks hate whites. Deal with it!

      April 17, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • DanieLouWho

      Talk about being a racists. Your comment is without a doubt very racists and quite ignorant. I have plenty of black friends that love to hunt, love their guns, love Jesus, and hate a few whites and other nationalities too. Wow, I can't believe you actually thought your post was logical and proved a point. Well, it did prove a point...your ignorant comment is what breeds hate and racism in this country. Of course, my nasty reply to your post isn't very nice either. But, come on...really? You actually believe the crap you posted?

      April 17, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
  33. Uncle Samsung

    Only in the USA

    April 16, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • DanieLouWho

      Ha! Only any where in the world.

      April 17, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
  34. michflaguy

    Are you KIDDING me????
    In 2013 a school's prom is still SEGREGATED???!!!
    No matter how bad the cities in the North get...ate least we are not still living in the 1800's.
    The shame and ignorance of the South lives on...in every Confederate flag they display.

    April 16, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • Southern White Woman

      Proceed after reading this article and sit down. Please dump your ignorance on something that cares and do not make uneducated and moronic assumptions.

      April 18, 2013 at 11:24 am |
  35. white power

    i hate black people

    April 16, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • normal person

      Thank you for your ignorance. Please tell me what good has come from it!

      April 16, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • Loam

      You hate yourself, too.

      April 16, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • Curtis

      I'll bet you live an unhappy life with all that hatred stored inside you.

      April 16, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
    • planet lover

      i'm sure white lover is walking with a stick with a hunchback!!

      April 16, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • Seriously817

      Thanks so much for you honesty. I just hope that you're as honest in your day to day life as you are posting comments. I'd rather deal with an upfront racist than a closet racist who has their white sheets or red suspenders hanging in their closet. I just hope you can keep up all of the racist energy for a lifetime, because we're not going anywhere. Better yet what's your address? I'd like to move next door.

      April 16, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
      • Racisms Dumb


        April 17, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
      • Bill

        I think its part of the human condition to form biases. What separates 'most' of Western society from what are quite frankly xenophobic societies and cultures that still exist in other parts of the world is the ability for most people to overcome biases, and tolerate & accept others. I struggle with it occasionally, but I recognize that most of North America is made up of dozens of cultural and racial influences. We don't have to like other people (regardless of whether they're our race or religion or not), but we'd damn well better start tolerating and accepting each other. There's no other way.

        April 19, 2013 at 2:11 am |
    • DanieLouWho

      I am an equal opportunity hater....I hate stupid people the most. You fit right in with that group.

      April 17, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
  36. Turd Ferguson

    Did I wake up in 1950?? What the?.... it's 2013 how has this continued for so long? it's just ridiculous.

    April 16, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • mfgman

      South Georgia makes NW Montana look positively cosmopolitan!

      April 16, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
  37. comkaf

    Guess they want the white kids to experience what it's like when gun fire breaks out at a party.

    April 16, 2013 at 4:53 am |
    • Amy Ostrower

      What a racist thing to say. You should be ashamed of yourself.

      April 16, 2013 at 6:18 am |
      • Just Pray

        There will always be racists in this world. Just don't let it affect you. Only God can change these people, if they ask him for His help!!!

        April 16, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • Earthlyvision

      Just couldn't pass up the chance to throw out a stereotype huh? Its people like you that keep the division and racism alive and well.

      April 16, 2013 at 6:39 am |
      • Pandamonius

        Racism is being kept alive and well by BOTH white and black. Until you can admit that, you are just part of the problem.

        April 16, 2013 at 9:31 am |
      • Just Pray

        Unfortunately, people do not understand that comments like that does not help the situation. We need to just pray for the people that are trying to change things, so God will give them strength to go the disstance and pray for the bigots (on both sides), that their eyes will be open to undertand that we are just one race, the "human" race.

        April 16, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • Yeah right

      Like all the black people who have been shooting people in the news lately causing a national controversy over controversy....oh wait, they where white.

      April 16, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • Seriously817

      I could say something equally ignorant like they don't have to go to parties to know about shootings, they can just go to school in the suburbs to learn that lesson. Either way, it's not appropriate.

      April 16, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • DanieLouWho

      Or the white kids want the black kids to know what it feels like when one of the black girls get drunk. Then instead, the poor black girl can have her picture posted all over the web while being gang raped by a bunch of white boys. Your comment is just wrong. Gun fire doesn't just happen at black parties.

      April 17, 2013 at 8:13 pm |
  38. Kurt

    Kudos to this school generation! Whatever has kept this going on for so long, this kids are standing against it and showing how they really want their future to look like! U.S. or not, the whole world is watching, looking out for this kind of examples to follow. We all want to see it happen! Not all are as courageous! Even in countries like U.S., where you do not get hard punishment for doing so, we know it's not that easy. I hope they keep this spirit through out their whole life, and keep inspiring others to follow.

    April 16, 2013 at 3:21 am |
  39. Dianne

    Only in the South, How sad can this be! come on People We are in 2013 ! We all come from the same Creater Bleed the same Blood! How do We exspect to get over this Black And White thing if WQe let this keep going on! In the 60 I went to School in the North We all got along, in the 70 I went to School out West We got along ! Now I have lived in the South for 23+ years Now And I do not see anything chaning same old BS It is ashame!

    April 16, 2013 at 12:49 am |
  40. Earthlyvision

    Why is everyone so surprised? As much as I love this country, I have accepted the fact racism still exists. Yeah, slavery "legally" ended centuries ago. What didn't end was bigotry, racism and outright hatred. @Loken, I would love to see that happen. However, there are still those among us teaching their kids hatred towards people who don't look like them.

    April 15, 2013 at 10:20 pm |
  41. Crazy Space

    There are still places in Macon that look like the black areas in the show, "In The Heat of Night". There are still towns in GA where you do not go threw if you are of color. Ask Coke why they will not allow certain "people" to merchandise in certain towns....."It's for safety"

    April 15, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
    • Pandamonius

      Likewise, there are certain areas white people can't go.

      April 16, 2013 at 9:30 am |
      • mjakzn

        I am quite sure that the theory of devaluation as a defense mechanism will go over your head given the narrow examples you've cited to support your equally narrow beliefs. Speak only for yourself given your incredibly limited experience.

        April 17, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
  42. holam

    I can't believe this in this day and time. I live in the south, in Alabama at that, I am 53 years old and have always went to a intergrated school. How does this happen?? If both races were happy with it and I did say BOTH, I guess it could work but the kids seem like they want to combine the 2 and if that is the case, by all means combine them.

    April 15, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
  43. Rolland

    Jim Crow, alive, healthy and still living in the south! My cousins went through it in Fort Valley and I shook my head at it then and shed a tear for you now. We have failed you and I apologize for that. Thought we were moving past this but OH NO!!!! I will never subject my kids to the sins of the Old South, Never! So glad I got the hell out of there. Young people I am so proud of you, now go see the world and embrace new things and try not to judge. Then go back home and you will see the wrongs as clear as the beautiful moss that hangs from the trees. Then your rage will have a maturity that can NEVER be ignored.

    April 15, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
    • holam

      You are crazy, you act like there are hangings on every tree, well excuse me but I have lived in Alabama all my life and I have never seen anything like what you are blabbing about. Quit giving other people in other states a bad idea about what goes on. Good grief, if that is the way you feel I am glad you are not here anymore.

      April 15, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
      • Rolland

        Well no, not anymore thank GOD. Babling, you do not bable about what you have lived through and Georgia does a good enough job of casting a cloud over itself. As for Alabama, no comment. Thanks, I am glad I left as well. It has been an eye opening experience. Just hope others from the great south are able to do the same. That is the only way things will truly change. Congrats on your national championship by the way. Long live your precious south!

        April 16, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • Andrea

      Fort Valley is the biggest black town in GA. So I'm not sure what you are talking about.

      April 15, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
      • Rolland

        So why did it take so long to have a prom where all races were welcome? Never said anything degrading about Fort Valley and never will so what is your point? Black town or not, segregated proms were the norm for years. ALL of my cousins who lived there went to them? I thought it was crazy then and it is sad that it took so long to be changed. I am proud of them for finally getting it done but for the record, I did not say anything negative about Peach County. If I offended you I apologize.

        April 16, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • DanieLouWho

      No where in this article does it state they had to have separate proms. For some reason, each group continued to hold their own prom. This has nothing to do with the whites forcing blacks to go to another prom. This is a tradition that should have stopped many, many years ago, but did not. Both became comfortable with the status quo and therefore both should be held accountable for it continuing. I've lived in the south all my life, I've never felt I should move due to my color. My family has a rich and colorful history, I can't imagine living anywhere else. Racism happens anywhere and everywhere and not just to blacks.

      April 17, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
  44. barbaras312

    II'm blown away that there is still segregation in the US in 2013! You have a black president for goodness sake! Well done to those kids trying to organise the integrated prom. Just because something has always been done a particular way, does not make it right.

    April 15, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
    • Guest

      I don't understand how people don't know there is segregation ... There are numerous communities that are represented by a certain race or color in America. Either way I do agree that segregation should be diminished in as many places possible but why get upset about this? They are moving in the direction of integration so praise them and their actions, don't condemn the situation for taking so long ...

      April 16, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
  45. Ms. Jauregui's class

    Slavery is not around anymore; Black people are no longer to be seen inferior to Whites, so what happened after the Civil War, weren't they set free then?

    April 15, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
    • DntTrippBruh

      I guess dey might hav been set free, bt u knoe doze ppl now trynna think blcks worth less thn white, which in reality we all da same jst ppl tripp now a dayz n think this damn jst nt rite, goverment shud du somethin in mah opinion, watchu think?

      April 15, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
      • Just another viking


        April 16, 2013 at 11:17 am |
      • Racisms Dumb

        Dear "Pretending to appear as an uneducated person"... put down the crayon and pay attention in school.

        April 17, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
  46. TxGal

    UNBELIEVABLE ... I thought the days of things like this were over ??? What is wrong with Georgia ??? This is the year 2013 !!! I'm from Texas and my prom was 29 YEARS AGO – and we did NOT have a segregated prom even back then ... We all went to 1 prom together and it worked. SHAME on you, Macon Geogia and Wilcox HS ... and kudos to the STUDENTS who are trying to do the RIGHT THING and make a CHANGE to the MODERN WORLD !!!!!!

    April 15, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
    • Pandamonius

      Since all of the proms were student sponsored, maybe you should take that up with the students and parents of the Class of 2012, and the Class of 2011, and the Class of 2010, and the Class of 2009, etc.....

      April 16, 2013 at 9:27 am |
  47. Miki Davis


    April 15, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
  48. Cindy

    I am shocked and appalled that segregated ANYTHING is still happening. People are people, get with the times!

    April 15, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
  49. gerry

    Only in Georgia.

    April 15, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • Pandamonius

      And alabama. And mississippi.

      April 16, 2013 at 9:23 am |
  50. mark

    What freaking year is this!? Hey South, you lost the Civil War more than a century ago, evolve!

    April 15, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
    • holam

      we are evolved. This is not normal for the south, why don't you investigate first before making blanket statements.

      April 15, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
    • Racisms Dumb


      April 17, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • DanieLouWho

      Telling someone from the south to evolve is racists if you want to get nasty about the whole thing. If you'd read the article, the decision to hold separate proms has been something that both the black and white community did. The white community did not force this on the blacks. This is a cultural and tradition by both communities that never changed. It takes both to fix it.

      April 17, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
  51. iamcanadian

    Isn't this suppsed to be the greatest country in the world? I wish Americans could actually see that they are no better than anyone else.

    April 15, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • Pandamonius

      We MUST be better. All you foreigners keep posting on our news websites.

      April 16, 2013 at 9:24 am |
      • Just another viking

        We post here because you shock us with your backwards ways while claiming to be the best nation on earth.

        April 16, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • DanieLouWho

      Grouping all of the people in the U.S. as one mind is wrong and doesn't say much for you either. Don't cast insults unless you are pure and perfect. Not all Americans believe this country is perfect or ideal to live in every day. We are not perfect, but then again neither is any one else. Many of us try to make our country hospitable to every one, no matter their color or religion. You also did not read the article or understand what was written. The choice to hold separate proms was made by both groups in the past. This was not a white versus black issue, but a tradition that needed to be fixed.

      April 17, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
    • lmori

      I don't think I'm better than anyone else. But I'm sure glad I wasn't born in Canada.

      April 18, 2013 at 9:59 am |
  52. Ms. Jauregui's class

    We are currently learning about black codes and we are shocked that segregation is still happening. We are more than disappointed, it is not fair that these girls cannot all celebrate their prom together.

    April 15, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • Pandamonius

      Since all of the proms were student sponsored, maybe you should take that up with the students and parents of the Class of 2012, and the Class of 2011, and the Class of 2010, and the Class of 2009, etc.....

      April 16, 2013 at 9:26 am |
  53. JARS

    I cannot believe that in 2013 we still have places that are segregated in the United States of America.

    April 15, 2013 at 12:50 pm |

    what a backward little town..Steve they didn't have a separated prom by choice...it was just the way it was...we had out first intergrated prom in West Memphis in 1983....

    April 15, 2013 at 11:10 am |
  55. Steve

    This story still here? It's been hanging around for like two weeks. They have separate proms by choice. No need to get all worked up about it.

    April 15, 2013 at 8:05 am |
    • Ms. Jauregui's class

      Steve, is it a choice when you are not allowed to attend a White prom, or is it exclusion and pure racism?

      April 15, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
      • CNN

        It could be a choice, but people should separate proms only because of skin color,were your from, ect. Everyone is EQUAL!

        April 15, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
      • Pandamonius

        I'm all for equality, but when you've got things like BET, JET magazine, black history month, black colleges, groups that exist to support only the black community, etc... you can't really talk. That sort of stuff is keeping racism alive just as much as some old white guy wearing a sheet. What would happen if someone started White Entertainment Television? Or Cloud magazine? Or White History month? NAAWP? It'd get called racist and screamed down, right?

        April 16, 2013 at 9:19 am |
  56. Brendon

    This is funny all these stuff happens in the US but is hidden from the world, and then the US fights,for inequality even sanctions other countries where this is still taking place. Thanks GOD this isnt still ongoing in South Africa

    April 15, 2013 at 4:34 am |
  57. Timea

    I'm so glad they are standing up and doing this!! At the same time I'm in shock that segregation is still part of our lives in the 21st century. For God's sake, we have a black president...can we just get past a person's skin color and focus on what kind of ethics and exemplary lives people can pass on to the next generation. Let's rebuild America to be the best country in the world, one we can all be proud to call home!

    April 15, 2013 at 1:49 am |
  58. Lokenf5b

    Are we stuck on stupid? These children are the future of the USA. They have to establish a USA that they will live in and raise their own children. The success for any society is team work and equality.

    April 15, 2013 at 1:29 am |
    • Just Pray

      and they should never wonder why things are not getting better. They don't have to look past themselves to find out why things are in the state that they are. The children are trying and they are trying to knock them back to the worst time in our history. Shameful, but it's reality

      April 16, 2013 at 10:05 am |
  59. Cynthia Corbin

    The prom committee students from the WCHS class of 2011 held a diverse prom where all students were welcome to attend. This occurred after the school would not sponsor a prom and after conveying their request to State representatives who were visiting the school during that time. Also, my daughter attended the Homecoming dance in the fall of 2010 and had a good time with her fellow classmates. She was the only African American student in attendance although the Homecoming king was black, the queen was white with a very diverse court.

    April 14, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
  60. Anne Pollitt

    When are people going to realize that we are all in this together. If we would quite looking at the color of each others skin and just learn to get along with each other this world would be a much better place.

    April 14, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
  61. syreeta

    Its sad that in 2013 there are individuals who still have that negativity of ignorance, and even hatred. However I highly applaud those student in the South. Because in their eyes race should not matter, all these young adults want to do is to enjoy life, and im glad that their voice is being heard.

    April 14, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
  62. P&J

    It two gay guys wanted to bring their gay dates to the prom....and call it an integrated prom, many of the same people who insist blacks and white dance together would also scream to the high heavens in protest against a prom with gays and straights...
    So...bigotry is everywhere, especially in the black race where being gay is considered as bad as being a slave owner.

    April 14, 2013 at 11:05 am |
  63. P&J

    They've only sold fifty tickets - that means a lot of folks aren't going.
    You cannot dictate who to socialize with. You cannot dictate who to love.

    April 14, 2013 at 11:03 am |
  64. Joe Wilson

    Thank you too CNN for writing the story as accurately as I have seen it to date. These kids have accomplished something beautiful and MAJOR. Keep doing your thing girls, you are all four awesome. Your whole graduating class are awesome.

    April 13, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
  65. malissia smith


    April 13, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
  66. Chris

    Funny thing about freedom. If you're free, then you are free. You can do things everyone applauds. You can do things a lot of people don't like. Otherwise, you really aren't free?

    April 13, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Kathi

      Sometimes people are free and don't know it yet... Until your behavior reflects it, your own freedom hasn't been accepted. The reluctance to really "be" free that remains in Black minds truly amazes me. Kudos to these kids.

      April 14, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
  67. Adam Read

    Racism is a secondary symptom of fear. The fact that there are many here that still hate the opposite race means that we have yet to teach each other how to address our fear of the unknown.

    If all we can do is attack something that looks different than us, then we debilitate our own minds, as there are solutions to our seemingly unsolvable problems that those outside our "normal" can often easily see...but we can't.

    April 13, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
  68. Chuck

    Maybe the Inner Cities Like Chicago, DC and Detroit should try this

    April 13, 2013 at 3:04 am |
  69. diabetes

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    April 13, 2013 at 12:07 am |
    • Chris

      My horse has a red mustache. Would you like cheese on that? 50 miles is a long walk.

      April 13, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
  70. Raoul

    what i think about this is that it's wrong to do this a school to keep black kids in one and white in another because if this continues the kids that think this is true will pass this off to their younglings then they go with it and more chaos will spread so what we need to do is come together and have a school with different colored children then the people that wanted seperated schools for black children and whites they will see that it is not that bad then they will see it is not that bad and if we do this anything is possible to overcome

    April 12, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
  71. GABE

    It is sad that some children are taking on their racist parents legacy. I hope these kids black and white keep standing up to this kind of thinking and rid hate, bigotry, racism, and segragated ways from America. NO need for this in our society. We are all God's children and the sad part is these same ones that want segregation or is racist calls themselves Christians. They must not serve the God I believe in, my Saviour Jesus Christ. There is no segregation in heaven if you plan on going.

    April 12, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
    • Adam Read

      Gabe, I think what you might be missing about the Bible is that it is a book written entirely by one race, and when Moses scripted his own people as "God's Chosen People," he was embedding a logic code of racial supremacy. Moses also scripted the phrase, "Come out and be separate." That, too, is isolationism, and unfortunately, it reinforces the fear of the unknown in those that think they are

      When you isolate yourself from those that are different than you, you remove the one tool that negates racism. That tool is called Empathy. If the God of the Bible were actually real and in fact interested in people of other races, then he should have had the wisdom to insert stories of the Jews learning other languages and learning lessons about the benefit of seeing things from a variety of perspectives.

      But he didn't...and now, as we have followed this same religion of isolationism, racism appears to have become strongest in the south...which is often called "The Bible Belt." The more you preach "the chosen few" and "come out and be separate," the greater the effect will be.

      And I guess it's also possible that this is why the intellectual group MENSA is headquartered in the south as well. It's just a different form of isolationism, as they only allow people with the top 3% IQ into their group. Unfortunately, that means that they have an acute fear of 97% of the population.

      Not too healthy in my mind.

      April 13, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
  72. GABE

    hope this change people lives

    April 12, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
  73. Mrs. Egan

    When I teach Civil War, my students are always shocked that racism exists to the extent it does. The look of disbelief on my students' faces when they saw that there are still intentionally segregated proms was a reminder of how far race relations have come...and how far we still have to go.

    April 12, 2013 at 11:36 am |
  74. SOG1969

    Welcome to the world of FREEDOM as seen by Tea Party Traitors spewing & spreading their bigoted hate to the young of today... Sick people who should be fired and charged with discrimination....

    April 12, 2013 at 10:15 am |
    • Rob

      What the heck does the Tea Party have to do with this? And who are you going to fire? The parents that arrange the proms? It's not the school or politicians arranging this. You're ignorant and filled with hate and more of a problem than anybody in this story. Check yourself.

      April 12, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
  75. Delon

    I think segregation proms are stupid. If they work together, then why not have prom together.

    April 12, 2013 at 8:46 am |
  76. miguelfronteras

    Peach County High (FORT VALLEY GEORGIA) had our first integrated prom in 1990. my junior class refused to have our "white" prom separate from our black classmates and made such a deal that on prom night, ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX – all had satellite truck outside interviewing students. I was featured on the from of the Birmingham news! so this is old news!

    April 11, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
  77. carol riffle

    people are people, nuff said, screw racists.. fin.

    April 11, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
  78. dpd363

    How, in this day and age is this allowed to continue in the United States?

    April 11, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
    • randy giffen

      I agree with you how can this happen? how could this be? i thought there were laws in place so this would not happen ...when i read this I thought they were reporting 50 years ago.

      April 11, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
    • Christina

      Wonder what they did with other races in the community: Did they have Hispanic, Indian, Asian proms?

      April 12, 2013 at 11:29 am |
    • vicky

      IS THIS FOR REAL?!! This is a current news!? It is the year 2013, right?
      Wow so sad, remind me never to go to this part of the country.

      April 12, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
    • DanieLouWho

      It was allowed to continue because the adults, black and white, allowed it.

      April 17, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
  79. MaximizedGamer

    Wow, This is just a bit disturbing. It seems that Wilcox county is a bit behind the rest of the state in which I reside. Let's just keep the backwards Georgia talk directed at Wilcox county, not Georgia as a whole. Oh well, better late than never.

    April 10, 2013 at 11:57 pm |
    • Laura McDermott

      I'm in Ben Hill County , they tried to integrate prom, it went back to two proms the very next year, coming from a multicultural family we have run into this roadblock on a couple occasions, both my sister and daughter had to choose which prom they wanted to attend. And the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are the same way here, just fyi.

      April 11, 2013 at 5:50 am |
  80. Fail Burton

    I can't win these literary awards cuz I'm white.

    The Hurston Wright Foundation
    Black Writers Alliance Award
    Celebration of Black Writing
    Black Publishers & Writers Awards
    New Voices Award
    The Dickerson-Du Bois Undergraduate Award
    BCALA Literary Award
    Asian American Literature Award
    Coretta Scott King Book Awards
    The Unpublished Writers Award
    Black Mystery Writers Awards
    National Council for Black Studies Writing Award
    AAMBC Literary Awards

    What fake outrage is all this?

    April 10, 2013 at 10:50 pm |
    • Lin from Cali

      I can't win certain awards designated for males, or for Native Americans and so forth... what's your petty point?

      April 11, 2013 at 2:55 am |
    • Name*Elena

      You can't win awards because your a dumba$$ , it has nothing to do with you being white.Nice try pulling the race card.

      April 11, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
    • SOG1969

      Obviously from you post, even if you were black you couldn't win, you're stupid...

      April 12, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • Charles Cross

      You do know that if white people were not racist there would not be separate proms, awards and such..

      April 12, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • dean

      awwww, have some more white wine...

      April 12, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
    • welling2000

      No, you can't win literary awards because you can't spell "because".

      April 14, 2013 at 11:09 am |
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