Prom Night in Mississippi (2009)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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While the United States Supreme Court declared that segregated schools were unconstitutional in 1954, change came slowly to Charleston, Mississippi. Once a haven for the Ku Klux Klan, Charleston maintained segregated public schools until well into the 1970's, and even then one major event in the school year was still divided along racial lines. Charleston's high school had separate Senior Proms for white and African-American students, and the annual events made news in 1997 when actor Morgan Freeman, a Charleston native, spoke out against the "separate but equal" proms and made the school board an offer -- if they held an integrated prom, he would pay for it. Morgan's offer was refused at the time, but in 2008, Charleston announced that black and white students would attend the same prom for the first time. Canadian filmmaker Paul Saltzman offers a look at the long and rocky road to this step towards racial equality in the documentary Prom Night In Mississippi, which features interviews with a number of students (some of whom speak out against racism while being photographed in shadow, fearing repercussions from their community and their parents), faculty members and parents on both sides of the issue, as well as Morgan Freeman. (A group of white parents in Charleston staged a private "whites only" prom, but Saltzman and his crew were denied permission to film it.) Prom Night In Mississippi received its world premiere at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.
Documentary , Special Interest
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Critic Reviews for Prom Night in Mississippi

All Critics (3) | Top Critics (1)

Mainly the film is obliged to circle around the absent centre of the conflict, the dark heart of the very issue under scrutiny. Consequently, like a skinny boy in an oversized tux, it has to pad.

Full Review… | November 13, 2009
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Inspiring docu tackles a tough topic: racism.

Full Review… | December 19, 2010
Common Sense Media

Despite the subject matter, Prom Night In Mississippi is surprisingly buoyant with the hope and joy of these kids.

Full Review… | November 13, 2009
Jam! Movies

Audience Reviews for Prom Night in Mississippi

Holy shit. I really expected this movie to be a disappointment of something with a lot of potential but it was amazing. Easy to watch documentary that is both baffling and hopeful. The kids are all very interesting and well spoken and give you a lot of insight into what is going on.

Sunil Jawahir
Sunil Jawahir

Super Reviewer


A very inspirational film about two opposite races in a controversy over the white only prom and the black only prom. It's very sad to see these things still going on nowadays, because I thought this was far over and done by now, but I was very wrong. Prom Night In Mississippi is a beautiful documentary showing off the world/culture and how they are still able to interact with one another without be scared of the opposite race! Wonderful film!

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer


A wonderful film detailing the little known practices of a Mississippi town that has traditionally held black and white proms financed by local parents. Morgan Freeman, a citizen of the town, agrees to pay for a mixed prom to end the backward practice. What becomes quite clear is that students attending the prom are far more intelligent than their parents. Paul Saltzman however wastes too much time in his film showing us far too much of the prom itself. That wasn't the most interesting part of the saga Paul.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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