7.3/10
571
10 user 10 critic

Prom Night in Mississippi (2009)

A high school in a small-town in Mississippi prepares for its first integrated senior prom.

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3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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In 1997, Academy Award winning actor, Morgan Freeman, who lives in the Charleston, Mississippi community, offered to fund the first-ever integrated Senior Prom in the history of Charleston's one high school. His offer was ignored. In 2008, Morgan offered again... the East Tallahatchie County School Board accepted. In this town of 2,300 people, its high school of 415 black and white students has, to this day, always had separate proms: one black, one white prom. Our film follows the Charleston High senior class of 2008 preparing and attending their historic, first integrated prom, in the context of strong emotions, traditions, and conflict inherent in race relations in the community, and in the deep south. Some of the white parents maintained their whites-only prom. Written by Paul Saltzman

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15 January 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Baile de Formatura no Mississippi  »

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1.78 : 1
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Student's Father: [commenting on his daughter's black boyfriend] She's never been on a date with him. That's my choice. It's not hers, because I have a little control still. I'm still the parent.
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Well-crafted and thought-provoking
19 April 2009 | by (Seattle) – See all my reviews

There was something special about seeing this film at the Crossroads Film Festival in Jackson, Mississippi. There were some in the audience who did not know that proms were still segregated in some cities. Of course, they don't have to be segregated in Jackson because the vast majority of white students there attend private schools.

Be that as it may, this film makes it clear that racism is not an either-or proposition. There are some students who have black friends but would only date whites, a few who either by their own choice or under pressure from their parents will not attend an integrated prom, and one interracial couple who decide to become really public by going to the prom together. On one thing the students seem almost unanimous: separate proms is their parents' idea, not theirs.

Almost everyone seemed to be willing to talk to the film makers, except the small group of parents who organized their own whites-only prom. Perhaps the most powerful portion of the film is an interview with a white father who struggles with his own racist attitudes while refusing to give up on his daughter, whose boyfriend is black. I cannot think of a movie more likely to promote discussion about issues of race than Prom Night. And on top of that, it's just plain worth watching.


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