“Prom Night in Mississippi” is a documentary about the first integrated prom at a small town Southern high school. The filmmaker Paul Saltzman showed it here in Santa Fe to a packed house and led a discussion afterward. Because how people change their minds was on my mind, I wanted to add it to our discussion.
In Charleston, Mississippi in 2008, a number of seniors moved to integrate the two proms, one Black and one White, that had been the rule for generations. Parents and many school staff were opposed, holding onto old, fear-based racist beliefs — beliefs that they hoped they had passed on to their children. You will see in the film that many students “changed their minds” and abandoned their parents teachings and the region’s history. Their determination to create a better, more just and loving society, starting with their high school, is so inspiring. I hope you will find a way to see the film. Here is the link.