During the long fight to end apartheid in the American South, defenders of segregation would frequently dismiss civil rights workers as nothing more than “outside agitators” intruding on communities that did not want them. Nearly 60 years after Brown v. Board of Education, little appears to have changed in the Georgia governor’s mansion. In response to a request to support students in Wilcox County, Georgia seeking to integrate their high school’s still-segregated prom, Gov. Nathan Deal (R-GA)’s office channeled the spirit of George Wallace:
Gov. Nathan Deal won’t take sides in the controversy over some Wilcox County teens’ efforts to integrate their prom.
By email, his spokesman, Brian Robinson, said Deal would have no response to a liberal group’s call for state officials, including the governor to speak out.
He wrote, “This is a leftist front group for the state Democratic party and we’re not going to lend a hand to their silly publicity stunt.”
Better Georgia asked Deal and others “to publicly support the students of Wilcox County who are fighting to end a ‘separate-but-equal’ high school prom.”
To their credit, at least three Georgia Republican lawmakers, including state House Majority Whip Ed Lindsey, do not share Deal’s nonchalance towards segregation and have all issued statements supporting integrating the prom.