Charleston, Mississippi is a town that was deeply segregated, historically affected by Klan activity, and was shielded from the Civil Rights movement in the South during the 1950s. With a population of around 2,000 today, and with influence from the outside being very low, the town is still trapped within the kind of time loophole devices found in Star Trek episodes.
For example, the town’s high school has never had an racially-integrated prom night. I heard this story on NPR. Each year black students and white students have attended separate proms. A student interviewed said that it has been the parents who have imposed this “tradition” on the students, not the students who wish to be segregated. But, “that’s the whole thing with our town, everybody’s afraid of change,” says the student.
Ten years ago, actor Morgan Freeman – who is from Charleston – said he would pay the school board to hold an interracial prom night, but the offer was rejected. When Freeman put the offer back on the table in 2008 (with a new school board in place and a documentary crew following him around) the Charleston school board eventually decided for change. Though a number of white families decided to hold the “white prom” anyway and prevent their children from attending the integrated prom, it should be interesting to see how this event transpired when the documentary, Prom Night in Mississippi, is released sometime in 2009.