At first glance, the schedule of events for St. Martinville Senior High's 1973 class reunion looks totally ordinary. Activities include a reception, homecoming game and after-game get together. But in parentheses, next to the listing about the after-game party, the reunion schedule notes that the event is for "white graduates only." But no worries, according to event organizer Liza Chance. The "whites only" directive was just a mix-up. You see, every reunion the class of 1973 has held before this year has been racially segregated, but on Sept. 22, 2012, the class was to hold its first integrated reunion. The problem is someone forgot to update the invitation, so the "whites only" tag remained on the letter sent out to alumni and posted online.
Oh, okay, so that clears everything up. It makes total sense that since 1973--22 years after the Supreme Court ordered public schools to integrate--that this set of St. Martinville alumni has held racially segregated class reunions.
What were these grads thinking? Five years after they earned their diplomas, Ernest Nathan Morial became the first black mayor of Louisiana's largest city--New Orleans. In 2008, Bobby Jindal became the first governor of color elected in Louisiana. It's difficult to believe that as these milestones took place, the St. Martinville Senior High class of 1973 thought it was okay to maintain its racially segregated high school reunions.
The school is not responsible for this dubious tradition, principal Michael Kreamer has told the news media. That's because an outside committee plans the class reunions, he explained.
"I'm just a little disappointed that something like this comes up. I don't think it looks good for the school but again as I said it has nothing to do with St. Martinville Senior High School so I hope people don't take it the wrong way."
The only right way to take this situation is to ask the reunion committee members why they thought it was acceptable to hold segregated reunions and to ask the alumni who participated why they agreed to attend such events. So much for post-racial America.