Since 1973, a reunion celebration for graduates of St. Martinville Senior High School in Louisiana has held racially segregated class reunion after-parties. This year, though, organizers of the event wanted to change planned festivities by uniting Blacks and Whites together, but the well-intentioned plan went awry when an invitation from last year’s event found its way on to the Internet and exposed the long-standing practice, reports KATC-TV.
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The controversial part of the invitation (pictured below) reads:
A 5:30 p.m. reception; the 7 p.m. homecoming football game; and an “after game get together: (white graduates only) [emphasis added].
Bring your own refreshments and food dish (to share), the invite adds.
With the “White-graduates-only” invitation hitting the Internet, Michael Kreamer, principal of the high school, said he was inundated with calls about the practice but told KATC the school was not involved with the invite. “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…it has nothing to do with St. Martinville Senior High. So I hope people don’t take that the wrong way.”
Watch the news story about the segregated reunion here:
And the controversy has even made it to social networking websites, such as Facebook. According to the New York Daily News, St. Martinville graduates used the site to further explain how while the high school has held segregated activities in the past, younger graduates were trying to change the racist practice:
If you are not from this area, most people do not understand the segregation that took place and is still taking place,” wrote a Facebook user saying she graduated in 2001, “however we have to look at the positive in this reunion, they want to come together as one.
Liza Chance, one of the organizers of the reunion, says she doesn’t know why the archaic practice endured, “This year, 2012, was going to be the first year that we were going to integrate it. I don’t understand why this went the way it did.”
There is no word as to whether this year’s reunion will indeed be integrated.