In 1960s Los Angeles, black teenager Clarence McKinsey is rescued from the poverty and terror of the ghetto by an elderly white couple. At first, Clarence is relieved. However, he soon discovers that his troubles have only just begun.
From the casual racism of his classmates to the humiliation of being accused of stealing merely because of his skin color, the message Clarence gets is clear: he is not wanted.
But Clarence perseveres, with the support of his foster parents and their Jewish community. However, when he enters the world of college and military service, Clarence must forge his own path.
Feeding his intellect and believing in his faith, Clarence thrives in college and shows promise as an officer in the Navy, and when he meets the girl of his dreams, he thinks he has it all. But even she questions who he is: an Uncle Tom, or a proud black man?
Clarence is further stunned by the bigotry of his fiancée’s father, who is determined to tear them apart. However, Clarence’s mettle is truly tested when his ship is attacked by saboteurs determined to kill him, and Clarence must choose between his country or his life.
South Central Los Angeles, 1960. Twelve-year-old Clarence McKinsey is imprisoned in the black ghetto with his drug-addicted prostitute mother and his infant sister. His life is a struggle to overcome the treachery of his mother and the threats of the local gangs, while caring for his sister and surviving day-to-day in a culture of poverty, ignorance, and violence.
Then the Geffens, an old Jewish couple--themselves seeking some meaning to their lives--find Clarence scrounging for food and offer him an escape. But now, both their worlds collide.
Just when Clarence thinks his struggles are ending, he finds they’ve only just begun.
Clarence is plunged into a new, unfamiliar battleground--the world of white society. What is expected of him? What rights does he have? What does he have to do to keep from going back to the ghetto?
As Clarence finds the answers, he loses his fears and re-creates himself. But he must still overcome the hurdles erected by those who see him as black, and nothing else. Only when Clarence embraces how he survived the savagery of life in the ghetto does he come to realize his power to conquer what lies ahead.
Elliott E. Alhadeff