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January 31st, 2009     by Andrea Hoang     Comments

Last year Mississippi’s Charleston High School had their first mixed race prom. Ever.

While in the process of making a documentary about the changes made in Mississippi since the civil rights movement, Canadian film maker Paul Saltzman discovered that the small community of Charleston (population 2,100) still had segregated proms.

This prompted him to make Prom Night in Mississipi, a documentary playing at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, with commentary by Morgan Freeman.

Charleston is in fact, the town Freeman grew up in. He offered to fund a mixed race prom ten years ago. His offer was denied. He made the offer again in 2008, and this time it was accepted.

Toronto-based photographer Catherine Farquharson also had the chance to attend the monumental prom night. Her photos can be seen starting tomorrow at the Lens Factory, at 1040 Queen West.

Farquharson recently spoke about the experience on CBC’s Metro Morning.

In the interview, Farquharson says that it wasn’t the kids, but the parents, who were opposed to the idea of a racially integrated prom. And although there was a mixed prom, there was also still a whites-only prom.

A sneak peek:

Catherine Farquharson

Catherine Farquharson

Stills for the documentary Prom Night in Mississippi The Lens Factory 100 Queen St. West February 1-28, 2009 Opening Reception: February 4, 2009 7-10 p.m.

Tags: arts, film reel, news flash

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