7.1/10
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11 user 10 critic

Prom Night in Mississippi (2009)

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

Director:

Paul Saltzman

Writer:

Paul Saltzman
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3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Highschool Seniors of Charleston Highschool Seniors of Charleston ... Seniors
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Morgan Freeman ... Himself
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

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Details

Country:

Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 January 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Baile de Formatura no Mississippi See more »

Filming Locations:

Charleston, Mississippi, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Sheila Kendall: [a student's mother supporting an integrated prom] My grandmother always told us that we were all put on this Earth different. And when we all start integrating, there's not going to be any individuality. And we're all going to be the same. And if that's how God wanted us, he would have made us all the same to start with.
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Soundtracks

What Would You Do?
Written by Paris
Performed by Paris
Courtesy of Guerrilla Funk Recordings
Guerrilla Funk Music (ASCAP)
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User Reviews

Out with the old ... in with the new
1 August 2009 | by Vic_maxSee all my reviews

I happened upon the middle of this HBO-produced program by accident. I couldn't believe what I was seeing: talk of racism, "blacks" and "whites" going to separate proms ... and Morgan Freeman - what did he have to do with anything? Well, I decided to wait and watch it from the beginning. Boy - this was a great documentary.

Charleston, Mississippi is small, 2000-person town. Approx. 40% is white and 60% African American. The high school has 415 students total, which means about 100 students graduate every year. Believe it or not, with even this tiny student population, up till 2008, there were separate senior proms for "blacks" and "whites".

What does Morgan Freeman have to do with it? He lives there! One of the amazing scenes in the show is when Freeman visits the senior class and has a frank discussion with them. He asks them pointedly direct and blunt questions. When asked why he's doing this, he responds: "I live here and I think it is the stupidest thing I ever heard of" ... and goes on from there. He is an amazingly articulate and bright individual - I'll bet it was both his societal standing (or celebrity status) and leadership skills that got the integrated prom to go forward.

The kids interviewed in the show are very articulate and forward looking; the real impediment to progress seems to be the parents. Apparently the some parents tried to take legal action to "prevent", if you can believe it, an integrated prom. When they failed, they still pushed forward with a "white"-only prom. It almost leaves one speechless. This show is a great example of why generation gaps are sometimes a good thing. Some generational ideas need to fade away with the generation that embraced them.

This is a great documentary - definitely worthwhile viewing. It'll shock you realize how parts of this country are still mentally 'stuck' in the 50 and 60s. Unreal.


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