Americans of every age have been encouraged by the speech Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered over 50 years ago. The resolve in that speech still resonates with people from all over the nation, creating a yearning for racial equality. In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we are going to share stories of unity that are happening now and how his dream continues to live.
Wilcox County High School Finally Becomes Integrated
After four decades of separate proms, the students of Wilcox County High School finally got to go to an integrated dance. In Wilcox County, Georgia, a town known for doing things as they’ve always done, a brave high school student challenged the town’s social norm.
The high school has never hosted a prom for their students, instead private committees of students, parents and other townspeople get together to plan proms. Until 2013, for 40 years, there have always been two separate proms: one designated for black students and another designated for white students.
Mareshia Rucker was a high school senior who wanted to spend her last prom with all of her friends, so she reached out to the media to help start this conversation in her hometown. Read the full story of how she successfully pulled a town together for a uniting cause here.
Peaceful March for Justice and Racial Equality
At the short press conference leading up to the march, three pastors from three different churches spoke to the public. The speakers explained the importance of peaceful demonstrations and the need to work as a community to stop racial barriers. Read the full story about the peaceful protest of more than 100 marchers here.
A Professor Leads Efforts in Mississippi to Encourage Social Justice
Dr. Susan Glisson is the executive director of The University of Mississippi’s William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation. Glisson headed a successful effort to pass the nation’s first state law to require the teaching of civil rights and human rights history in Mississippi public schools.
In 2002 she helped The University of Mississippi organize events to mark the 40th anniversary of the entry of its first black student, James Meredith, whose enrollment sparked deadly riots. Read more about Glisson’s mission for social justice here.