Prom Night in Mississippi
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In 1970, the town of Charleston, Mississippi, allowed black students into their white high school, but refused to integrate the senior prom. Twenty-seven years later, Charleston resident and Academy Award®-winning actor Morgan Freeman offered to finance the prom - under the condition it be integrated. His offer was ignored. In 2008, Freeman made the offer again. This time the school board accepted, and history was made.
PROM NIGHT IN MISSISSIPPI traces the tumultuous events leading up to Charleston's first integrated prom through intimate conversations with students, families, faculty members and Freeman himself. As the film unfolds, we delve deeply into the heated race issues that tear apart this tiny community, and realize that this troubling segregation has less to do with the students than their parents. Ultimately, PROM NIGHT IN MISSISSIPPI captures a big moment in a small town, where hope finally blossoms in black, white and a whole lot of taffeta.
- Interview with the producer and director
- Deleted and extended scenes
Top Customer Reviews
The story is instigated by Morgan Freeman's attempts to end the long-standing practice of separate proms (white, black) in his hometown of Charleston, Mississippi. However, Mr. Freeman plays a relatively minor role in Saltzman's film. Instead, the filmmaker turns his cameras on the students, educators, administrators and parents. It's fascinating to listen to the interviewees discuss the history of the town, its events and how things came to be.
What struck me most about Saltzman's movie is this: by training his camera on a few selected protagonists, he unveils insight and nuanced, complex thinking from unlikely quarters. That he gets it from some of the students is one thing. There are some smart, thoughtful kids at this school. But that it comes from a self-described 'redneck' kitted out in camouflage is something else entirely. I'm referring to parent Glen Sumner - his attempts to articulate parental attitudes and the reasons behind their baked-in biases is brilliant, emotional and brave. During the Q&A in Dallas, when one of the questioners asked Saltzman to carry word back to Mr. Sumner of her admiration of his courage, she got an ovation from the audience. It's the type of film that elicits that type of enthusiasm and emotion.
In order to maintain a separate white prom, the parents ran it privately, off school grounds, but in the state armory, which should be open to all.
THe most touching facet of this multi-facetted story may be the integrated couple and their attachment on to te other through it all, and their entrance at the prom, and the heart wrenching admissions of the father.
PLease see this important film which perhaps bears greatest meaning to those of us who lie this director though not so intimately lived through those hard times to find this resolution. Hopefully it lasts.
It is also interesting to see school practices, the discipline imposed, the separation and the crossings and the rejections of those who cross. THe cops and their selective treatment of the students, and so much more I am forgetting to ask you to watch for. What you really do not need to see is the extra material, the long interview with the co-producer, the deleted scenes (though some are indicative) It really might have needed a more skilled cutting editor to smooth out some messages.
Unfortunately the South and it;s racism will always rear
it' ugly head. The young people in this documentary
have made great strides but the adults have not.
Having been born and raised in Texas, I know how
important my Senior Prom was. I really can't say if
my prom would have been better if it were integrated
Having graduated in 1965 segregation was just a part of
life for Black students. Fortunately our kids now days are
not a part of Jim Crow and the old South. Having said
that I recommend that you purchase this video I am' sure
that you will find it very down to earth. .
Most Recent Customer Reviews
changing the generations of lessons that have been taught. I don't see
any reason for dissemination.