As Black youth around the country prepare for Prom season, former youth activists will finally get to celebrate half a century later.
Young people from Birmingham, AL that took part in Dr. King’s Children’s March in 1963 were denied their proms in their home city.
Now fifty years later, an event has been organized to give those students the prom they never had.
On May 17 at the city’s Boutwell Auditorium, the Class of 1963 will finally get to have its prom. Alumni from about 10 formerly “colored” high schools are coming together with the help of the city of Birmingham to put on the event. The price of admission — $19.63.
“Some people tell us, ‘That was 50 years ago. Get over it,’ ” Thomas said. “But the fact remains, we didn’t have a prom. We didn’t have a yearbook. It was almost as if we were locked down under martial law.”
The prom, she said, is “about healing a wound — a wound that has been there for 50 years.”
Not having a prom had been the least of the threats from school officials who sought to discourage students from participating in the civil rights marches, said Brenda Phillips Hong, a graduate of Western-Olin High School. “There was the threat of not graduating after going to school for 12 years,” she said. “There was the threat of being expelled from school, and there was that chance your mother would get you because she told you not to go downtown and march in the first place.”
We can never forget the sacrifices Black Youth made in the Civil rights movement.
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