Brother Future (1991) - full transcript

A young street rapper is transported back in time to the pre-Civil War South, where he finds himself in the middle of a slave revolt.

(dramatic orchestral music)

(spray can hissing)

(upbeat funk music)

- Right now, this is the
sweetest deal in Detroit brother,

just $70, huh?

There you go, there you go,
there you go, all right.

Thank you brother.

- You TJ man, this is fresh,

where'd you get all this stuff?

- Don't worry about it.

- So each of you will write a
biography about a black leader

who has championed the
cause of human rights.

You could write about
someone from the past,

like Sojourner Truth

or Denmark Vesey, or you can
choose a contemporary person

like Martin Luther King, Malcolm X-

(suspenseful orchestral music)
(book banging)

TJ, you've got a brain,
why won't you use it?

- Oh, I'm saving it
for a special occasion.

(class tittering)

(school bell ringing)

Yo Romeo, let's blow.

(upbeat synthesized rock music)

So, you gonna help me?

- What study for the black history test?

- Yo homie, why should I
waste my time on school?

I'm a straight A student
on these streets man.

Look Crunch, you gotta take risks.

You gotta have vision, man.

- [Customer] All right,
thanks dude, peace.

- Thank you.
(suspenseful rock music)

- [Officer] Hey you, freeze!

Up against the wall.

(traffic whooshing)
(Brakes squealing)

(horn honking)

(birds chirping)

(distant fiddle music)

(mysterious folk music)

(chains rattling)
(distant dogs baying)

- [Man] Oh I got you now!

- Man, what's up man?

Where am I, who are you?

- He ain't the one.

- Where's Crunch?

- What do you mean he ain't the one?

- [TJ] The one what?

- Tanner, look at the clothes on this one.

- So what about it?
- He ain't had on

no clothes like that.

- Yo look man, you guys undercover?

Don't make me bust a move on you.

Man there's a law
against police brutality.

- There's a law against runaways boy.

- I ain't no runaway, I got a home.

- How come you ain't in it?

- I don't know.

Last thing I remember-
- We taking you in.

- You gotta read me my rights.

(men laughing heartily)

- You ain't got no rights boy.

- Now I'm innocent 'til proven guilty.

What is this?

- You're going to market boy.

Get you a new owner.

- How far to Charleston?

- Four or five miles.

- What miles?

You want me to walk?

Man come on, my car's
parked around the corner,

I got the keys, well I had the keys.

Look guys, I mean this is cruel
and unusual punishment now,

I am a juvenile, I'll sue!

(gentle folk music)

(church bell tolling)




(cell door creaking)

(cell door rattling)

(flies buzzing)

(chains clanking)

- Denmark, over here!

- Fable, what happened?

- The axe slipped out of my hands,

I didn't know what to do, what to say.

- We planned this for
years now, we're so close.

From now on, I'll come to
you, you contact the men.

(distant baby wailing)

- Man, gotta wake up.

So what you in for?

Yo man, I'm talking to
you, you speak English man?

(rooster crowing)
(crowd chattering)

- [Stand Owner] Get out of my way!

- Going to the Governor's Commons?

- Well that depends,

I have work to oversee on the plantation,

cotton yet to harvest,
list and grow a new crop.

(cell door squeaking)

- [Guard] Put these on.

(chains clinking)
(crowd chattering)

- What are those?

Take 'em off.

Take 'em off!

Where you from boy?

- Not from around here.

(crowd laughing)

This must be a nightmare.

- Now let's start this at $625, $625?

There, thank you.

Now who'll give me $700?

$700, $700, now how 'bout $800?

Can I have $800?
- I got $800.

- How 'bout $825?

No, $825, $825?

$800 going once, going twice,

sold to that gentleman for $800.

Come and get 'em.

- Gotta separate you-
(child screaming)

- No, no!
(somber music)

- Well ladies and gentlemen,
the next one is a stray.

Well it looked like nobody
worked this boy anywhere.

His hands are soft, must've
kept him in the kitchen.

Step up here boy, come on, step up here.

He's young, he's alert, he
could take a little discipline.

But this could turn out
to be a good one folks.

Now who'll offer me $100?

Let's start this boy off at $100.

Who'll give me $100?

Who'll start this boy,
yeah, start him off at $100.

Now, who'll over me $125?

There, well now there's a man

who knows good quality when he sees it.

Now $150, $150, can I have $150?


$125 going once, going
twice, going three times,

sold to that gentleman for $125 dollars.

(stick pounding)
(chimes tinkling)

(somber orchestral music)

(church bells ringing)

- Josiah?
- Yes sir?

- Put this boy to work in the fields.

- [Josiah] Yes sir Master Cooper.

- Fields, what's he talking about?

- Cotton fields, Master
Cooper's plantation.

- Oh man I gotta wake up.

- That there's Master Cooper,
he owns me, now he owns you.

- No, nobody owns me.

- Done for the day?

- Still some more work
to do before sunset.

Another one in bondage?

I'm sorry son.

- Hey man, you got juice around here,

tell him to let me go.

- Juice?

- You know, pull, influence.

- Freed men have only certain rights.

What do they call you?

- TJ, from Detroit, up North?

- Oh the underground, you're a runaway.

- I'm not a runaway.

What's your name?

- Denmark Vesey.

- Denmark, yeah that name sounds familiar.

I know where I saw you,
yeah were behind the jail

talking to that other brother.

Yo man hey, if you can
get me back to Detroit,

you gotta tell me.

- I better leave, go with God.

- So he's a freed man?

- From the West Indies.

Saved twenty years to buy his freedom,

still couldn't get it.

- Well how did he get it?

- From the lottery.

- Just my luck, I never win the lottery.

- He can read and write.

Speaks different languages.

- I can read and write man,
I learned that at school.

- Go to school?

- Yeah, when I want to.

(wagon clattering)

Where we going now?

- Leaving Charleston,

headed towards Master Cooper's plantation.

- Think you could head to Detroit?

- Wish I could get to a free state.

- Yo, what's up with all
this free states about?

- A state where a black man
ain't a slave, where we free.

- Oh man, how long you been a slave?

- Since I was born.

- How old are you?

- Old Isaac say I was born in 1802.

- Old Issac, I guess he's a slave too?

- We all slaves.

(crickets chirping)

(knocking on door)

- Who knocks?

- Gullah Jack.

(heels tapping)

- I finished the plans.

We must work quickly now,
we have only one month.

It is vital that you remember

everything I tell and show you.

Your lives and hundreds
of others depend on this.

- All right.

- Denmark, kind that you continue

to finance this thing
alone now, this will help.

- True.
- Good.

(coins clinking)

- I've managed to save this much.

- Fine then.

(crickets chirping)

- Oh man, this is ridiculous.

- Watch your step.

- All right, where do I sleep?

- You sleep over here.
- Where?

- Right here.

- Oh man are you kidding me?

You call this a bed?

Man my dog sleeps better than this.

- It's all we got.

- All right, where's the men's room?

- This is the men's room.

- No, no, no, the bathroom,
the head, I gotta go.

- It's outside.

- It's outside?

- And watch out for the snakes.

(cowbell ringing)
(roosters crowing)

(melancholy slaves humming)

(rooster crowing)

- You're late!

Get out in the fields.

- Oh man, who are you
telling me what to do?

- I'm in charge here.

I'm the overseer.

- Yeah?

Who's overseeing your clothes?

- These are Master Cooper's clothes.

- Yeah, well he ain't got no taste either.

- Get up!
- Oh man!

Get out of my face and
get out of my dream too!

I'm sick of this.

Yo, all right, I'm gonna
count to three, all right?

I'm gonna wake up and you gonna be gone.

One, two, three.

(women chattering)

- Now get out in them
fields and start working.

(birds chirping)

- [Laundress] Girl honey,

your body gonna give
out one of these days.

(laundress muttering)
(laundry churn cranking)

(wagon clattering)
(horse whinnying)

(ominous orchestral music)

(TJ grunting)

(whip cracking)

- Where you from you don't
know how to pick cotton?

- I'm from Detroit.

And the only cotton
that I see is in a store

and it's labeled designer.

- I'll show him how to do it.

Pick it like this.

- What, the white balls?

Oh man, I'll be out here all day!

I can't fill my sack with
those little bitty things!

(chimes tinkling)
(mysterious orchestral music)

(TJ grunting)

Hey old man?

How long we have to do this?

- How old is old?

Name's Isaac.

We work 'til sunset.

- No, no, no, I mean, how long
do we have to do this work?

- Our whole lives.

- Look, I can't take this man, I mean,

my back is killing me,
my hands are bleeding,

I mean look at these,

do these look like the hands of a slave?

- Yeah, they black.

- How'd you get here anyways, the fields?

- I was a house slave,

got caught doing what I
wasn't supposed to be doing.

- What do you mean?

- My wife lived at another plantation.

Tried to see her one
night, Cooper said no.

I went anyway.

- Yeah, that ain't nothing.
- Cooper thought it was.

It's why I'm here.

- What happened to your wife?

- I never saw her again.

(somber orchestral music)

(mournful woman singing)

- Man, I thought flipping
burgers was tough.

- You talk strange, words you use.

- Well that's because I'm from
a different time man, 1990.

- You know I don't like that kind of talk.

- No, I'm for real man.

Serious, this is the dope.

You ever seen a brother with these kicks?

- What's this kicks?

- Shoes, like the hat, the shades?

- Here.
- What's this?

- Rice, I fixed it myself.

- Yeah but that's all it is,

is rice I mean, where's the meat?

- We gets meat first of the month.

- Hey boy!

Come over here.

I'm gonna let you get me my
food from the main house boy.

- Oh really?

Thanks Zeke, you're so good to me.

You know Zeke, where I come
from, we get our own food.

(whip cracking)

Hey chill out!

Just foolin'.

- I eats the same food Master eats.

No slave food.

You fetch it, hear?

- Yeah boss.

(rooster crowing)

(women in distance chattering)

(dog barking)

Will you look at this?

- Get off the steps boy!

- Zeke told me to come and get his food.

- Field slaves go around the back.

You're new here?

- Yeah, let's just hope
I don't get old here.

(TJ sighing)

Name's TJ.

- TJ?

Let me put somethin' on these hands.

- Yeah I'm not used to
working in the fields.

You know I do most of
my thinking like this,

you know, back in the hood.

- You don't belong here.
(chair squeaking)

- How'd you know that?

- You come here for a purpose.

- What purpose?

- You'll find out.

(horse whinnying)
(birds chirping)

- Yo Zeke, got your food.

- [Zeke] Where you been boy?

It took you long enough.

- Yo man, chill out.

You know you got to learn to relax.

- You don't talk like
nobody from around here.

- Well that's 'cause I'm
not from around here.

- What'd you say boy?

Don't back talk me.

- Bet you and Cooper are real tight, huh?

- I grew up on his family's plantation.

I was a house boy when he was coming up.

And I worked for Master
Cooper all my life.

- [TJ] Where's your folks?

- Why you wanna know that?

- I was just wondering.

I mean, the only folks that
I got, is my grandmother.

She's a whole family all wrapped into one.

Sure do miss that woman.

- I ain't got no family.

They sold them off when I was a boy.

- That's really rough homie,
how you feel about that?

- Get out of here.

Don't be stirring up no trouble boy

'cause I got my eye on you.

(upbeat harmonica music)
(women chattering)

- Hey, you guys wanna know the real deal?

Check this out.

Yeah there you go, bust a
move on this one fellas.

Yeah, yeah, right, high five.

Ready, up like this, yeah!

Just like that!

All right, now you guys try it together.

That's the deal man.

You guys have fun.

- I was lookin' for ya.

Thought maybe somethin' was wrong.

- I had to fetch some
things for Master Cooper,

still need puttin' away.

- Making you work on
Sunday, it ain't right.

- There's nothing right
about our lives Caroline.

What difference do Sunday make?

We slaves.

Ain't supposed to be slaves,
we supposed to be free.

- One day Josiah, God's gonna see to it.

- Denmark Vesey say that time coming.

- I hope it comes soon.

Sometimes I feel we just
dreaming about freedom.

- Ain't no dream Caroline.

I'll do it and the others too

and soon-
(Caroline hushing)

- If you know the way, I wanna go.

(ominous orchestral music)

(woman singing mournfully)

- Man I am tired, I wanna go home.

- Hush boy.

- Look Isaac, we gotta
do something about this.

I mean, this has gotten way out of hand.

Hey, you ever hear of unions?

- What?
- Yeah, I mean,

no pay, no work, you know?

We go on strike, that kind of thing.

Look maybe we should just say no.

You know, tell him hey,
we ain't gonna work

if you ain't gonna pay us.

- We don't work, they gonna kill us.

- I don't know about you but
I'm getting out of this place.

- Many has tried.

They catch you, they make you pay.

(woman humming)

- Mortilla?


Gotta get Zeke's food.

- Put Zeke's bowl down and come over here.

(bowl clattering)

- Powerful spell came
over me this morning.

A vision that shook me.

I never had nothin'
happen to me like that.

- Was it about me?

- Felt it through my whole body.

You gotta help somebody and
not ask for nothing in return.

- Okay.

For me to get home, I gotta help somebody?

- Yes.

(birds chirping)

- Gotta help someone.

Let me help you with that?

- That's all right TJ,
I can manage, you tired.

- No, no, I wanna help.

- Why that's mighty nice of you.

- Yeah, it's a good thing
I was trying to help you,

this is man's work.

- Maybe this would help.

You put it on like this.

Then you ain't got such a heavy load.

- [TJ] Say baby, you and Josiah hanging?

- I ain't sure.

- Well let me tell you something baby,

the brother ain't giving you no play,

you gotta cut him loose.

- Why I wanna cut Josiah?

- No, I mean, get rid of him, you know,

say goodbye, adios?

- But I like him.

He just ain't one to tell
you what he's feeling.

- Caroline.
- Josiah.

- How you doing this day Caroline?

- I'm feelin' just fine.

- I just come in from the market.

You look real nice today Caroline.

- You look pretty good yourself.

(both chuckling)

- Yeah, we all look
pretty good now don't we?

You mind if we move on,
these buckets are heavy.

- You don't have to carry
Caroline's buckets TJ,

I can do that-
- No, no,

I wanna help man.
(water splashing)

- She don't need your help.

- Yes she does!
- No she don't.

- Josiah!

Hold this, TJ, give me those buckets.

I gotta go fetch some more
water, no thanks to you two.

(TJ chuckling)

- For the Lord knoweth
the way of the righteous.

But the way of the ungodly shall perish.

These men who call themselves master

have set themselves up as
false gods and the Bible

forbids us to honor them

so we must do what we are about to do.

We have gathered some weapons.

I have blacksmiths forging more.

How many men have we to arm?

- From the shipyard, we
got over 100 good men.

All willing to fight 'til the end.

- John?

- At the livery stable
I watch very carefully

but I've managed to recruit about 20 men

from several plantations.

- We need a much stronger
force to cordon off the city

and seize the arsenals
to start the rebellion.

- Ned, how many men have you recruited?

- It's only me, there's
no one else I can trust.

But I am watching the governor closely.

- Good, keep us informed

if the governor shows any suspicions.

We must know if the slave
owners learn about our plans.


- I hear talk at the marketplace.

Many slaves are dissatisfied,
we all want change.

Using my pass I travel the countryside.

So far, I've managed to get 30 good men.

(suspenseful orchestral music)

- You know, we gonna be doin' something

about all of this Isaac?

- Yeah?

I hear some talk about people
doing some of those things.

Heard a lot of that in my lifetime.

Who you plottin' with boy?

- I can't say, listen, I
know you wanna be in on it.

See we sworn to secrecy-
- Don't swear me to nothin'.

- You think we wrong to wanna fight back?

(Isaac sighing)

- No.

You ain't wrong.

I just ain't the swearing kind.

(gourd bonking)

(papers rustling)

- [TJ] Say, what's up cous?

- Nothin'.

- Oh, you trying to learn
how to read and write?

- You can't tell nobody.

- Or you'd get in trouble?

- Real bad.

Master Cooper, he don't want
us to learn to read and write.

This place you come from?

- Oh yeah, Detroit, Motor City.

Don't make me think about it.

- People knew how to read and write there?

- Most of 'em.
- You knew how?

- Yeah, of course I do.

(papers rustling)

- Show me?

I pay you money!

- Oh man, the money that
Master Cooper's paying you,

my grandmother would call it chump change.

I'll teach you for free.

What about the other brothers?

- We have to keep it secret.

Somebody might tell.

- That's pathetic.

Got my brothers afraid to read and write.

All right.

Start with your name first.

J, O, S, I, A, H.


That's your name!

Give it a try.

- I, A-
- Pretty good!

- [Josiah] H, Josiah.

(owl hooting)
(crickets chirping)

- Bet you'd like to write Caroline,

tell her she's a fine sister.

- Yeah I'd like to.

She can't read.

- So read it to her.

- Can't.

Every time I open my mouth
to say something good,

words won't come out.

- Mm hmm, I know what you mean brother.

It's love.
(TJ chuckling)

Just tell her how you feel.

- I can't, ain't ready.

I was saving up to buy our freedom.

I was gonna marry her then.

But I'm never gonna have enough money.

- Look, the girl ain't after your money.

All right, here's what we do.

We'll write her a rap, okay?

You can memorize it and
then recite it to her.

- What's, what's a rap?

- Well it's, it's like poetry.

(birds twittering)

(horse whinnying)
(horses snorting)

(rooster crowing)
(dog barking)

- Caroline?

I need to talk to you.

- I gotta finish this wash.

- This'll only take a minute.

I wrote something just for you.

I wanted to, just listen.

Well, sitting on my bed, late at night.

Thinking 'bout you girl
and that ain't right.

Wonder where you are, who you're with

going crazy girl, yeah I'm having a fit.

'Cause I miss your smile
and the way you walk.

When you pass me by, I can hardly talk.

I don't wanna think you got someone new,

yeah I want you girl,
if you'll have me too?

TJ helped me some with the words.

- I love you Josiah.

- I love you too Caroline.

- [Woman] Caroline, Caroline?

Master Cooper say he needs
you in the house now.

- Better get back to your work.

- We'll surprise them.

I'm moving up the date.
- What?

- Denmark we can't-
- Hear me out!

20 years I've planned
this rebellion, 20 years.

I've traveled around the
world to seek out information,

everything I have done in this life

has been focused on this moment.

They may know there is
a plan to take the city.

So we'll move up the date and
still take them by surprise!

That's our advantage.

- But how soon?

- Only I will know that.

And I'll send word when it's time.

Be prepared to move any day.

Josiah, we'll need your help.

Hide the weapons in your wagon

and take them to Gullah's ship yard.

(uplifting singing)
(slaves clapping)

- Amen!
- Yes ma'am!

(slaves chattering)

- Yo Isaac man, I can't
hang, I gotta crash out.

- Things different where you come from TJ?

- Yeah, they're different.

I mean, around here, we're
tied up like animals.

Isaac, how does Josiah get to move around?

- Josiah's a hire-out, he gets
passes from Master Cooper.

- Passes?


(cicadas buzzing)
(wagon clattering)

- You there, where do
you think you're going?

- Master Cooper's plantation sir.

I'm a hire-out.

- Let's see your pass.

- Don't you be lingering now boy.

Get on back to your plantation.

- Yes sir.

(horse whinnying)
(wagon clattering)

(Josiah whistling)

- Hurry!

I just seen patrollers!

Come on, hurry!

Y'all hide those good, I'll
send word when it's time.

Be careful now.

(owl hooting)
(crickets chirping)

- I can help you.

- We'll be punished if we get caught.

- I ain't worried about Cooper,

anyway, it's he and the other slave owners

that should be punished.

All right, how far'd you get?

- First page.

- Do you see any words that you know?

- The, he, and.

- This word is to.
- To.

- Make.

- Make.

- Men.
- Men.

To make men,

what's that word TJ?

I don't know how to start it.

- All right, begins with an E.

- Equal.

To make men equal.

- Oh that's for def' homie.

- What does equal mean?

- Equal, that we're all the same.

You know like equal rights.

You know, we have the same
rights as Cooper or anybody else.

- We don't, we don't have the
same rights as Master Cooper.

- Well, you're right.

I mean, slaves don't have the
same rights as slave owners.

- We ain't equal to white folks no how.

- Hey?

Don't think like that.

All right?

I mean, this slavery thing is,

it's a psych, it's a mind game.

They want you to think that
you're not as good as them

so that they can work ya to death.

It's just that, blacks
don't have legal rights.

But, years from now,
they'll be a civil war.

And slaves will be free.

- Then we'll have our legal rights.

- Not all of them.

You see, it's gonna take
about another 100 years.

Then there's gonna be people
like Dr. Martin Luther King,

Malcolm X and they're gonna
fight for our legals rights.

- How you know all this?

It ain't happened yet.

- I'm the from the future.

Say Josiah, you know that
pass you use to go to town?

- [Josiah] Yeah?

- You wouldn't happen to have

another one of those
lying around would you?

(suspenseful tribal music)

(ominous orchestral music)

- Mornin' gents, fine day ain't it?

- Look what we have here.

- Looks like this boy thinks he's free

to roam the countryside Jarvis.

- I just goin' into
town for Master Cooper,

I got my pass right here.
(chuckling nervously)

- Think you can outrun these horses?

- Care to put some money on it?

Morning Zeke.

Zeke, how can you do this to me?

- [Zeke] I'm gonna teach you a lesson boy.

You ain't never gonna run away
from this plantation again.

- Zeke, it's not even your plantation man,

I mean, you're a slave just like me.

- Oh yeah?

(whip cracking)
(TJ yelling)

(somber orchestral music)

(TJ whimpering)

- Why we got to go through this?

Why do any of us got to go through this?

- I hope we learning
something, you, me, all of us.

Maybe even Master Cooper and Zeke.

I want this.

- They just learning how to hurt people.

- But you can learn how to help people.

Get rid of all this ignorance
and heal all this pain.

- Ain't nobody helping me.

(metal tin clattering)

- Fine.

Let's see you reach around

and put the salve on your own back.

- I can't.

- That's right TJ, you can't.

Nobody can.

That's why you gotta do for
others and others do for you.

If we can't figure out
nothin' else in this world,

that one thing will get us through.

(door creaking)

- How you feelin' boy?

- I hurt.

- The last runaway Zeke caught up with,

he crippled for life, you understand?

- Yes, Master.

- Are you looking at me?

- No, Master.

- They told me you were unusually bright.

You must understand, there is
a certain order in this world.

- Yes, you the Master and I'm the slave.

- And I am responsible for you.

All of you, I feed you and I clothe you

and I give you shelter.

It's also my responsibility
to discipline you

when you do not obey me.

Hand me that book.

- Which one sir, what's the title?

(ominous orchestral music)

- Title?

What do you about titles?

- I likes to hear the
titles of the books sir.

It sounds right good to me.

- It is missing.

That book was very special to me.

(suspenseful orchestral music)

- Caroline, make sure
you get them shirts clean

'fore Master Cooper leave for town!

Here, eat.

Have some sauce, bring out the flavor.

- I just don't feel like it, Mortilla.

- You gots to keep up your strength.

(bottle gurgling)

(TJ coughing)

(Mortilla chuckling)

- What is this stuff?

- Hot pepper sauce, I makes it myself.

- It's good, it's real good.

Now tell me what's in it?

- Can't say, it's a secret.

But I will give you a jar.

Just don't use too much.

- E, L-

- Elected, elected.

- Elected.

What that mean?

- Well, when people
have the right to vote,

they chose their
representatives, you know,

they elect their representatives.

One man, one vote.

- Master Cooper got a lot of votes.

He get one vote for his-self

and more votes for however
many slaves he got.

- Man, this Master stuff is tired.

He ain't no Master to me.

He was looking for that book today.

You took it out of the library.

- Don't you say nothin'.

- Hey man, I wouldn't get
you in any kind of trouble.

Zeke on the other hand,
that's a different story.

(rooster crowing)
(chickens cackling)

(knife scraping)

- Evening Zeke.

Brought your food early.

(Zeke harrumphing)

Yeah, sure was hot today wasn't it?

A man could work up quite
a thirst in this heat.

You know Zeke, I always like
to have a drink with my meal.

(Zeke harrumphing)

(Zeke coughing)
(Zeke sputtering)

What's wrong Zeke?

(Zeke choking)

I better get Master Cooper!

(dog barking)

- You sick?

You need water.

How did you get this book?

Answer me!
- I don't know!

- You stole this book from my library.

- No sir!

No sir!

I wouldn't take nothin' from you!

- Josiah!

(melancholy orchestral music)

- Yes sir Master Cooper?

- Did you steal this book?

Answer me, did you steal this book?

- Yes sir.

- You can read and write?

(ominous orchestral music)

(whip cracking)
(Josiah groaning)

- Mortilla, you'd better come,
he's whipping him real bad!

(Josiah coughing)

- Get his head up!

- You be ready for town, tomorrow.

- We got to make sure ain't no infection.

- Mortilla I'm scared!

- Don't worry Caroline, Josiah's
strong, he'll pull through.

- Caroline?
- Don't try to talk.

- Where's TJ?

- I'm sorry.
- Don't feel too good.

- I'm really sorry homie.

- Wasn't your fault.

I took the book.
(Josiah whimpering)

- And I didn't know that
the note was in there.

- I need you to help me.

- Anything you say brother.

- There's a man, Denmark
Vesey, you remember?

He lives on Bull street.

Tell him what happened, tell
him why I can't come to town.

You do that?

- Yeah.

(wagons clattering)

(TJ knocking on door)

- [Man] Yeah?

- This where Denmark Vesey lives?

- What you want?

- I gotta see Mr. Vesey.

- He don't see no one.

- Look, it's important.

I got a message from Josiah.

- We are all human beings.

But the laws in the country
put us in the category

of an animal and give us no human rights.

- Yes.
- Yes, yes.

- The time has come, brothers and sisters,

the moment of our destiny draws near.

We are no different than
the children of Israel

in Egypt's land.
(congregation murmuring)

Just as the God of Moses
delivered his Hebrew children

from bondage, he is ready to
set free his African people,

- That's right.

- Go with God.

(footsteps pattering)

You're Josiah's friend?

- Yes.

What you said today was real powerful.

- Josiah sent you?

- Yes, that's right.

See Josiah got beat real bad.

He can hardly move.

- Did they make him talk?

- Talk, no.

I mean I don't know anything about that.

See what happened was, Josiah stole a book

and I took it from him

'cause I needed to get off
that plantation real bad.

See, I figured that I could
make it look like Zeke,

the slave driver took the book.

- You should never do anything to expose

one of your brothers or
your sisters to the lash.

Not Josiah, not even the slave driver.

This is how our enemies keep
us down, they divide us.

You hear?
- Yes sir.

- Can you read?

- Yes I was helping Josiah learn.

- Well, teaching a brother
to read is a good thing.

Usually, they cut a persons hand off

for trying to learn to read or write.

You see, an education is
a mighty, mighty weapon.

Take a message back to Josiah for me?

Tell him this, when the
clock strikes eight,

the dance begins.

(crowd chattering)
(rooster crowing)

- Can you handle this?

The money?

- Yes, don't worry, money
is one thing I can handle.

- Don't fail me.

- Thank you ma'am.

- Well you look like a
lady who's very particular

about what she serves her family.

Now, quality comes first.


Thank you very much, I appreciate
and a good day to you sir.

- I've asked the secretary of
war to send federal troops.

And I've doubled the men on the arsenals.

- Perhaps we should
call off the reception?

- But if we do that, they'll
know something's wrong.

No, I think we should carry
on as if nothing's happening.

- Governor, do we even know
who the ringleaders are?

- We haven't found out yet.

The man we arrested knew nothing.

I have another source,

that's how I was able
to find out the date.

- And you're sure your source

will lead us to the ringleaders?

- If he wants his freedom, he will.

(crowd chattering)

- How did it go?

- Great, sold out.

- The money?

I'm staying in town for rest of the week.

You, Josiah and Zeke will
work the Governor's reception

on Sunday, Mortilla will
show you the formal uniforms.

- Master Cooper, Josiah cannot-

- His fault, not mine.

I want the three of you at
the reception, ready to work.

For you.

- Raise your arm.
(birds chirping)

A little bit more.
(Josiah grunting)

I'm sorry Josiah, I know it hurts.

(Josiah groaning)
Okay, I'm sorry.

I'll just take this old
one and wash it for you.

- Caroline?

I want you to be my wife.

(door creaking)

- Got to get back to my wash.

(coins clinking)

- I cut a deal with some
of the other vendors.

You know, sell some of their stuff?

For a percentage that is.

I want you and Caroline to have that.

- Did you talk to Vesey?

- Oh yeah, I saw him.

He gave me a message to give to you.

When the clock strikes
eight, the dance begins.

- That's the message?

- Yeah, what's wrong man?

- It means that'll happen
during the reception.

- What'll happen?

- I can't say.
- Hey!

Master Cooper wants you, me and
Zeke to work that reception.

I told him you weren't
feeling well but anyway,

if you guys are gonna throw
down, will you let me know?

- Master Cooper wants
Zeke there to watch us.

- Man, Zeke's always trying
to be somebody he's not.

Wonder when he gonna learn
the black don't rub off.


thanks for being my friend.

I've learned a lot from you.

(inspirational tribal music)

I'm getting out Isaac.

- You know what they do to runaways.

- Yeah I know.

But I'd rather face that and be free

than look at this life every day.

(birds chirping)
(children chattering)

I just wish that you could come with me.

- You go on.

You're my future now.

- There's a lot of you
I'm gonna take with me.

- Yeah.

(wagon clattering)

- You okay?

Yo Josiah, you don't look so hot.

- Yeah, I'm okay man.

(horse hooves clomping)

- I wonder what's going on.

- TJ, I need you to take
my place tonight at seven.

Could you do that for me?

- No problem.

You sure there's nothing
else bothering you man?

'Cause if it's Vesey, you know I get-

- Just be there at seven.

- How many men are committed now?

- 150 and we'll pick up more
as we move to the streets.

- Good, John?

- At least 100.
- Hmm,

Josiah will meet his men
outside of Charleston.

- Are you sure Josiah got the message?

- I'm sure.

The Lord is my light and my salvation.

Whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the strength of my life,

of whom shall I be afraid?

My chosen men, go now and
do what has to be done.

(dramatic orchestral music)

(guests chattering)

- Why is Zeke trying to get
Master Cooper's attention?

- Don't know.

Just remember to take my
place tonight at seven.

- Josiah, do you believe me when I say

that I'm from a different
time, from the future?

- I don't know TJ.

I don't think you'd lie to me.

- You take care of yourself.

Take care of Caroline.

- Let us be absolute precise about this,

you fell off of your horse-
- Excuse me Master Cooper?

- It was on a Sunday and Ezekiel,

I am trying to instruct Mr. Meese.

It was on a Sunday, your horse,
not mine and you fell off

right in front of church-

(glasses clattering)
(glass shattering)

(carriages clattering)

- [Mortilla Voiceover] TJ,
you gotta do for others

and have others do for you.

- I've helped others.

I gave 'em the money.

I'm gettin' out of here.

- [Mortilla Voiceover] Don't
just think of yourself.

(suspenseful folk music)

- TJ asked him about but
Josiah wouldn't say anything.

He just kept sayin' to
take his place at seven.

He kept asking TJ to do that.

- Go back, keep an eye out for Josiah.

Let me know when he
leaves and where he goes.

- [Zeke] Yes sir Master.

(church bells tolling)

(guests chattering)

- It's seven o'clock, where you been?

(tray clattering)
(guests gasping)

- Where did Josiah go?

(horse snorting)
(crickets chirping)

(Josiah whistling)
- Josiah's here, come on.

Come on.

- They know about the plan.

- How do you know?

- TJ told me.

I don't know how he found out.

We'll be lucky if we get back alive.

- Go on back, go on, pretend
you don't know nothin'.

Ain't no one talks.

Well son, in the first
time in my life I had hope.

- If TJ's right with his stories,

they'll come a time, maybe not
for us but for our children.

(suspenseful folk music)

- He should be here by now.

I mean, we gotta get out of here.

(door creaking)
(footsteps clomping)

- Josiah!

- TJ we got to run away.

- I'm going too.

- No Caroline, it's best you stay here.

- I belong with you
Josiah, no matter what.

- We can get to the river
right here, let's go.

(suspenseful tribal music)

(Caroline shouting)

- [Zeke] Whoa, whoa, this way.

Well they ain't gonna
make it to the river.

It's too far.

- [Cooper] TJ, been nothing
but trouble since I bought him.

His fault.

- [TJ] All right, what now?

- [Josiah] We gotta cross the
fields and get to the river.

- What we gonna do, Josiah can't run.

- I'm all right, I can make it.

We just need to get across this field.

(ominous folk music)

- Don't worry, you can make it.

- What about you?

- I'm gonna take care of them.

- God bless you TJ.

- I think I heard something over here.

- Master Cooper, Zeke, here, over here!

Yeah, boy am I glad to see you.

Seen Josiah, been looking for him?

He went outside and that's
the last I saw of him.

That's when you asked me
about him, remember Zeke?

- Don't lie to me.

Where are they?

- Who?

- You know who he's talking about.

Josiah, where's Josiah and Caroline?

- They've escaped to freedom.

You don't own them anymore.

You may own Zeke, you don't own them.

But you don't own me.

(suspenseful tribal music)

(pistol clicking)

(gunshot blasting)

- You all right?
- I'm shot?

- TJ man, it's me, Crunch.

- Crunch?

I'm glad to see you man.

- All right, move it out, move it out now.

- Oh man, it's good to be home.

- What, where you been?

- Was in Charleston, South Carolina.

- Homie, you hit your head too hard,

we better get you to a doctor.

- No, no, I'm serious man.

I was back in Charleston.

I was back in 1822 man, I was a slave!

- Right homie, right.

- I'm tellin' you man,

it was worse than what you read about man.

I mean, we were treated like animals.

Josiah got whipped
because of a book, a book!

- Who's Josiah?

- He and Caroline got
away, I know they did.

- Caroline?

- Yeah, they were friends of
mine man, I helped 'em escape.

- How'd you get away?

- Mortilla told me-

- Mortilla?

- I wonder if Denmark made it.

- Denmark, Denmark Vesey?

You met Denmark Vesey?

Man get real.

- Crunch, I am serious.

I was as close to him as
I am to you right now.

He could've gone to the
North for freedom man

but he decided to stay.

Decided to stay and help his people.

To help all of us.

- What about your business?

- I ain't about that anymore man.

I mean, you should've seen these people.

They were risking their
lives just to read.

They were risking their lives for freedom.

- Man that's what I've
been trying to tell you.

Can't deal with the future
unless you know your past.

- Now Crunch, you know a lot
about history and all right?

- Right.

- What happened to Denmark and the rest?

- They didn't make it
man, they were lynched.

- So they didn't make it huh?

Others did.

Others did man.

We will too.

- You know it.
- Yeah word.

(upbeat funk music)

♪ Don't take my freedom ♪

♪ Don't take my freedom ♪

♪ Don't take my freedom ♪

♪ Don't take my freedom ♪

♪ Don't take my freedom ♪

♪ Don't take my freedom ♪

♪ Don't take my freedom ♪

♪ Don't take my freedom ♪