Arts + Culture » Film + TV

Prom Night in Mississippi

Directed by Paul Saltzman (Return to Mississippi Productions)

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This insightful documentary reminds viewers that, even in the supposedly post-racial era of Obama, there remain pockets of America that have barely acknowledged the groundbreaking civil rights advances of the mid-20th century. The film chronicles the lead-up to Charleston, Mississippi’s first-ever integrated prom, which took place in the tiny town in 2008. Charleston resident Morgan Freeman paid for the event and shamed school and town officials into letting it happen, but Saltzman shrewdly relegates the actor’s famous face to a supporting role. Instead, he lets the kids---innocent, ignorant and wise by turns---carry a movie that’s heartbreaking in its depiction of how racism is passed down through insidious “traditions,” but also hopeful that today’s teens can halt them.

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