Sunday, October 11, 2009
Prom Night in Mississippi
~ a documentary filmed in Charleston, Mississippi 2008. Morgan Freeman challenges the seniors of the town's high school to attend one combined prom instead of segregating to their own traditional black and white proms. As an incentive, Morgan offers to pay for the integrated prom.
The documentary follows the students in their decisions to attend or not, to plan the event and the conflicts that ensue. And sadly, the prejudiced attitudes of the Old South still remained. Some parents incited fear of violence while others were ignorantly intolerant. A "white" prom was held but sparsely attended.
But the beautiful thing was the students. Some denounced their parent's attitudes. One particular student had the support of her parents, an unlikely pair with mullets and and southern drawls. Guess I still need to learn the lesson of not judging a book by its cover. They were proud of their daughter and the opportunity of a new community attitude.
One couple, black guy and white gal, "dated" for several years but never went out in public because they were afraid of violence. Text messages and no public displays of affection were all they had before they could dance together at prom.
So touched by the shared bond the graduating seniors built and the joy shown at their first combined prom, I cried and cried during the last five minutes.