Prom Night in Mississippi (2009)

One town. Two proms.
Until one man decided it had to change...

Found out about this documentary which I assumed was a period film since its topic is the first racially integrated prom in Charleston, Mississippi. I was shocked to find out that it took place ONLY in 2008!

The school had separate, segregated, proms for black students and white students, despite Mississippi fully integrating their schools in 1970. In 1997, Morgan Freeman (a resident of Charleston since 1991) approached the school and offered to pay for the prom, provided it be racially integrated. The school declined Freeman's offer. In 2007 Freeman offered again, and the school agreed to move forward with an integrated prom.

Director Paul Saltzman follows a group of students, both black and white, over four months as they prepare for their senior prom. The students discuss segregation in Charleston and how they feel about it. The prom is successful despite some parents' forbidding their children to attend the integrated prom.

Prom Night in Mississippi was shown on HBO in July 2009
Release to theaters was on December 11, 2009.

>>Video interview with director Paul Saltzman
>>Official site

Video trailer


  1. This is not really an isolated thing. They don't call it "segregated" elsewhere but there are hundreds of schools that do this anyway - and it has nothing to do with being in the south. In some schools (a lot of them up north) they divide prom simply based upon music preference.

  2. Teresa,
    to divide by music preference doesn't seem too bad but I still can't believe they would divide by race in this day and age!

  3. Yet, that is what ends up happening. Those students who want Hip-hop/R&B/Rap music played at the prom vs those who want rock/country. It is happening all over this country. It's just not called segregated. It is very nearly the same thing when different ethnic groups do it, even though they do it willingly and all out in the open. Schools shouldn't let it happen, but they do it to keep the peace not realizing they are doing more damage then good. It's called working together and compromising and if young people haven't learned this by high-school, there is little hope for them in adulthood.

  4. I've never heard of that happening in Canada that I know of, would be nice if they celebrated together!



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