Prom night in Mississippi

Amie - posted on 11/15/2009 ( 6 moms have responded )

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This was a Sundance film festival movie. It was funded by Morgan Freeman for the kids of Charleston High School in Mississippi. His one condition was that it be a racially integrated prom.

Canadian filmmaker Paul Saltzman went down to Mississippi to shoot the film. Some were unaware that he was making a film, at least one thought it was a home movie he was doing. During the making though it became very clear that racism is still an issue.

Read the article from CTV here:
http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/st...

Read the Sundance article here :
http://festival.sundance.org/2009/film_e...

Read about the movie and a little bit of history here:
http://www.promnightinmississippi.com/th...

I honestly found this all to be quite shocking. While their classrooms are integrated their proms are not! At least they weren't until last year when the school board accepted Morgan Freeman's offer.

I understand people know racism is still alive and well. But how much do people really sit and think about how big of an issue it still is. When things like this are still allowed to pass it is STILL a huge issue. This is not something that should be ignored. This is not something that should be happening in this day and age. This should not be acceptable by any decent person's standards.

I can even understand not knowing about something like this being in another part of the country. Not something I'd want to broadcast either but now they are in the lime light. How often do you hear about segregation happening still anyway? How many other schools do this? How many other students are ashamed and scared to stand up to their parents bigotry?

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JL - posted on 11/16/2009

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I watched the documentary when it premiered on HBO July 20, 2009. I found it interesting and thought provoking since it was NOT the majority of the students themselves that felt a need to have seperate proms.They did not understand the point in doing so and welcomed having an interracial prom like every other highschool across the state of Mississippi and across the US. It was certain members and parent of the older generations that pushed and kept the idea of the need of having seperate proms in tact and it was them that worried about what may happen if one integrated prom was thrown.



In the end it was not Morgan Freeman or the documentary that changed things in Charlston, Mississippi..it was the younger generations that stood up and changed things and that is what was enlightening and heartfelt about the documentary...knowing that they will pass on to their children the need to accept eachother and live as one no matter what race, creed, nationality, or sexual preferance your neighbor is.

[deleted account]

No, and I didn't really mean that it was your intent, Amie. Sorry if I sounded like I was bitching directly at you.



I was more talking about the intent of the documentary. I just hope it's handled in a tasteful way that points a finger not at Mississippians, or at Southerners, but at racists in general. I get tired of media portraying the South as assbackwards.



I was also trying to take a stab at answering some of your other questions about whether other schools do this and how often it happens. I doubt many do. If they did, this school wouldn't have been enough of an anomaly for Freeman to go about trying to desegregate the prom and a film to be made about it.

[deleted account]

Honestly? Not many.



I realize that the film is there to open people's eyes and make them realize that there are still places where racism exists. I also realize that one of the reasons Morgan Freeman knew about that place and wanted to film the documentary there is because he is from Mississippi. However, to outsiders I think it paints a picture of Mississippi that is a little unfair. I've lived in four different cities in Mississippi-one in the northern part of the state, two in the southern part, and one almost in Alabama. I've only seen this sort of thing when I was very young; the town in which I grew up voluntarily desegregated the prom probably 10 or 15 years ago. I remember being stunned that it was still segregated, because nothing else was. But by that time no one made a big issue out of desegregating it. The school board voted and that was that.



Just once, I'd like someone to acknolwedge the good things about Mississippi. Mississippi is the homeplace of the blues. Mississippi spawned Thomas Harris, Eudora Welty, Elivs Presley, Tennessee Williams, Jim Henson, Faith Hill, John Grisham, Morgan Freeman, Oprah, James Earl Jones, etc.



I love my home. It has problems, but so does every place. I've seen how in Chicago and Boston, black people live on one side of the city and whites on the other, and rarely do they cross paths. I've seen towns in New York with next to no racial diversity. This happens everywhere. In a perfect world, it would happen nowhere-and I wish we lived in the perfect world.



The racists I have encountered here are pretty up front about what they believe. And generally, those of us with brains in our heads call them assholes and continue to go about our day. But I can honestly say that I've rarely had to do that-so don't watch the film and think that all or even most of Mississippi is that way-because we're not. This highlights an extreme case that, yes, needs to be brought to people's attention so they'll realize it still happens, but people also need reminding that we're not all backwoods racists, and this is not the norm.

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[deleted account]

hehe...I'd like to think that we all have more than half a brain, but sometimes I wonder.



And I think it's difficult for children to stand up to their parents on most issues-important ones, anyway. It's still difficult for me to tell my mother when I think she's wrong-and as she's a conservative, I often feel that she's wrong. lol It's easy to challenge a parent's decision on whether curfew is at 10 or 11, but it's more difficult to tell them that their worldview is wrong.

Amie - posted on 11/16/2009

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I would think it's very very few schools that allow this to happen. I hope this is the only one. But then I think about it and if one school can get away with it for so long there just may be a few more that do this as well.

The students aspect question was more of an in general question. We all know racists are out there but how many of their children are actually standing up to them? Which ones want to but don't because they fear what will happen?

My mom has always told me the older we get the more set in our ways we get. Which in general is usually true, at least for the older generations I see. A lot of hate still brews in them, even here. They grew up with during a time where all of this change was happening, to them their "norm" is not what it once was. The south is just a more predominant place where these type of people are. It is not meant as a dig or as a way to paint all people in the south as this way. Anyone with half a brain would know this to not be true. It's just a part of the culture and ways there that is taking a little longer than other places to change.

Amie - posted on 11/16/2009

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Diana it wasn't my intent to paint Mississippi as a "bad" state. I am fully aware that the state as a whole is not all this way. If it was I'm sure it would have come to light a lot sooner.

This is about that school, and possibly a few more that still do this, it just happens to be located in Mississippi.

The film is about bringing to light that these types of things still happen today. That segregation, even if it is only for a prom, is still happening and allowed to happen.

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