Tennessee Student Becomes First Black Homecoming Queen In School History

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A Tennessee student made history as her school's first Black homecoming queen.

Jayla Miller, a senior at Independence High School in Williamson County, Tennessee, was crowned as homecoming queen earlier this year, per the Tennessean. Miller was the first Black homecoming queen in the school's 20-year history.

“When I heard I was the first, it almost brought tears to my eyes because the school had been open for 20 years, and for not one person of color to have been crowned queen really made me feel like I did something for girls like me,” she told The Williamson Herald. “Especially in this area where there aren’t many African Americans, I think it’s important to be a representation of how you can be a woman of color and a person of color, and you can be successful. You can be queen. You can be strong and powerful."

Miller had moved to Tennessee from South Carolina in 2020. She made friends among the over 2,000 students at Independence High School and currently serves as captain of the school's softball team.

Of the 2,000 students, only 3.4 percent of the school's population is Black, according to reports. School officials praised Jayla for her accomplishment.

“Jayla is an such an amazing student,” Assistant Principal Steven Pickerill said. “If we could have 2,000 students like her, we would be incredibly lucky.”

“Not only am I proud of the student-athlete Jayla has become, I am equally impressed with how kind she is to everyone,” Frizzette Miller, Jayla's mother, said. “On the day of the homecoming parade, adults and students stopped me to let me know how kind and considerate Jayla is. One student told me that, every day, Jayla brings love and light to everyone. Hearing that really made my day, and I’m so grateful that she is ‘letting her light shine.”

Miller plans to attend the University of North Alabama to play softball and major in journalism and broadcasting. The high school senior said she hopes being the first Black homecoming queen can inspire other students.

“What I would say to other girls who look like me and grow up in areas similar to where I have is that just because you don’t look like other people around you, don’t see that as a weakness, but take that as a power,” Miller said. “You don’t have to be like everybody else to be successful.”

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