Black and white dilemma: High school to hold segregated reunions
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Black and white dilemma: High school to hold segregated reunions

New Orleans : LA : USA | Sep 02, 2012 at 4:19 PM PDT
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St Martinville High School

By Joseph Harkins

St. MARTINVILLE, LA. -- For 40 years, the Class of 1973 at St. Martinville Senior High School has always seen things in black and white.

But this year was going to be different. For the first time, white students at the Louisiana high school would hold an integrated reunion with their black classmates after the homecoming football game.

“This year, 2012, was going to be the first year that we were going to integrate it,” said Liz Chance, one of the reunion organizers who came to realize that those plans had suddenly gone astray, when, somehow, somebody sent out invitations to conduct separate celebrations prematurely.

The letter was posted online, where it said that the “white graduates only” would be attending an after-party event.

Michael Kreamer, principal at St. Martinville Senior High School, wasn't happy about the news either. He started receiving phone calls as soon as word spread.

“We did receive some phone calls, but as I told you, St. Martinville Senior High School is not associated, that we have a reception at the school and all our graduates are invited,” he said.

Kreamer insisted the school wants no part of segregated reunions.

"I'm just a little disappointed that something like this comes up,” he said. “I don't think that it looks good for the school, but again, as I said, it has nothing to do with St. Martinville Senior High. So I hope people don't take that the wrong way."

People have been taking to social media platforms like Facebook to express their displeasure.

“We've been doing this for the last 30 years,' totally excuses three decades of discrimination and the burden of inequality. I'm glad that they found a way to fix this terrible indiscretion in 2012 and finally decide to integrate like it's 1960, or was that the mistake? I can't think of an intelligent person I know who would ever think it was okay to write or plan anything exclusively for 'White People,’ " commented one man from Lafayette, La.

This is not the first "white only" event that has caused a furor in recent months.

According to Pastor William J. Collier, his Church of God's Chosen was planning on holding a "white only" Christian conference in Alabama.

"We don't have the facilities to accommodate other people. We haven't got any invitations to black, Muslim events. Of course we are not invited to Jewish events and stuff," Collier said in way of explanation.

Meanwhile, Chance hopes organizers are able to push forward with an integrated celebration.

"And this is just a start,” she said. “It's a beginning, it needs to go forward. I don't understand why this went the way it did."

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Black and white dilemma: High school to hold segregated reunions (Image: Reuters/Jim Young)
joeharkins is based in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, United States of America, and is an Anchor for Allvoices.
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  • Reunion letter causes stir

      United Press International
    A letter for a Louisiana high school class reunion caused a stir with an event labeled "white graduates only," officials said...TV, Lafayette, La., reported. "This year, 2012, was going to be the first year that we were going to integrate it," said...
  • ‘White graduates only' party for Louisiana high school alum

      NY Daily News
    La. high school alumni send out reunion invite with white graduates only' party  Party organizers insist homecoming after-party was meant to break tradition and include everyone. Graduates of school say there's been an ongoing issue with segregation.

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  • Black and white dilemma: High school to hold segregated reunions (Image: Reuters/Jim Young)

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