Halls of Anger (1970) - full transcript

An all-black inner city school has to become an integrated school. Few dozen white kids are transfered there, but the black students are aggressively opposed to this. The school then approaches a tough black teacher for help.

Jenny! Jenny!

Jenny: Alan!
Hi, how are you?

How are you?

What did you do
this summer?

Jenny: Oh, visited
my grandparents
in Woodstock,

and went to that festival.
It was really great!
How about you?


Hi, Mr. Davis.
Hello, Jenny.

I'm in your class
again, Mr. Davis.

Wasn't once enough?

Mr. Davis!


Principal would
like to see you.

Oh, thank you, Jenny.
Sorry, fellas, got to go.

Oh, come on,
Mr. Davis.

Maybe tomorrow.

Saved by the bell.

Oh, Mr. Davis.

Thank you for coming.

From the board
of education,
Mr. Cargyll.

Hi, glad to see you.

And Mr. Willis.

How are you?
I'm well.

Let's see, now, must be
eight or nine years
since I saw you.

The all-pro game
when I was in New York.

Sit down, gentlemen.

Tell me, Mr. Davis.
Do you know Lafayette
high school?

Downtown? Yeah.

Cargyll: It's a fine
physical plant.

And the board thinks
you'd be very good there.

But I have sort of
settled in here.

I know it's rewarding here.

But it can be rewarding
there, too.

If we promoted you,
to say, vice-principal?

But I like teaching.

You could still have a couple
of english classes.

Mr. Cargyll, may I ask
you a question?

Why are you being
so good to me?

Well, to be frank with you,
we have a situation
down at Lafayette.

They have reapportioned
the district

and they transferred
200 white students in there.

First time
in five years.

Two hundred white kids
and 3,000 black, eh?

You're already a day
late in opening.

Gentlemen, I can't say
I don't know what
you're talking about.

But it seems to me
that what you need

is a professional

Not an english teacher.

I think I better pass.

Mr. Margolin,
I understand you have
a new science lab.

I'd like to see it.
Yes, yes, of course.

Excuse us, gentlemen.

Quincy, you don't want
to go back there,
do you?


I already told you why.

I wonder if there
isn't another reason.

I don't have to give you
all my reasons.

Sure, you don't.
Especially the real one.

All right.

I don't wanna go back
to the ghetto.

It took me 20 years
to claw my way
out of there.

So, what do I wanna
go back for?

We need you
down there.

They need me here.

These kids never
see a black face.

Do you?


White man makes it,
nobody comes running
asking him to go back.

White man goes,
he's gone!

You are not
a white man.

How far would
you like to make it?


Big wheel downtown?

You buck the board
of education now,

and you'll never
get anywhere.

They'll freeze you
in your tracks.

Like I said,
they need you
down there.

Not here.

* do you hear it?

* can't you hear it?

* reachin' out to you

* trying to
touch your hand

* asking you
to understand

* do you see it?
* see it

* can't you see it?
* see it

* reachin' out to you

* trying to
show your eyes

* trying to
make you realize

* rising

* like a muddy river

* falling

* falling like
the evening sun

* don't you
hear me crying?

* crying out
to every brother

* telling it
to everyone

* telling it
to everyone

* telling it
to everyone

* do you feel it?
* feel it

* can't you feel it?
* feel it

* can't you feel it
in your heart?

* asking for love
to start

* reachin' out to you

* reachin' out to you

* do you hear it?

* you can hear it
in your head

* do you see it?

* you can see it
with your eyes

* can't you feel it?

* you can feel it
with your heart

* all around you

* asking for love
to start

* reachin' out to you

* oh, yeah, yeah

* reachin' out

* reachin' out to you

* oh, yeah, yeah, yeah

* reachin' out to you

* oh, listen to me,
yeah, yeah

* reachin' out to you

* reachin' out to you

Hey, save it.

All right.

Who's that?

Say, man.

Ain't you Quincy Davis?


What you doing
down here?

You kidding.
I'm not kidding.

Hey, man, you know
who that is?

That's Quincy Davis.

Dunk one, quince.

Quincy: I haven't
known to miss.

Vanilla ice cream.

And I'm gonna
take me a big lick!

Anyone of them niggers
give me any crap,
I'll lay 'em out.

You do that, leaky.

Yes, sir, white folks.

This is the plantation
sure enough.

But miss Scarlett,
she ain't up yet.

Now, look
who's here.

They done sent us
our token white.

Honkies with their
wrinkly white asses.

I thought
there'd be 200.

Where's the rest
of them?

Here's the rest
of them.

How did they get out?

How? Some move,
some went
to private school.

Some kids suddenly came
down with heart trouble
and can't travel.

Would you believe,
27 requests for
classical Greek?

Ah, these will get
washed up on the shore.

I suppose
their parents couldn't
find the escape hatch.

Maybe some of them
didn't want to.

They were those who
were trying,

but in the last
couple of years,

everything's become so
complicated down here.

That's why I asked for...
For someone like you.

I know
you didn't like it.

I'm adjusting.

I knew you would.

And frankly, I'm sure
it is going to be
a learning experience

for both of us.

However, in order
to teach we have
to stabilize things.


Well, as vice-principal,
your main job is
to prevent trouble.

Keep the lid on it.

After all, we don't want
the stew boiling
all over the stove.

Well, doesn't that
more likely to
increase pressure?

I mean, maybe there
are other ways.

Look, Mr. Davis,
let's be practical.

We have a school to run.
I think it's best if we let
the rules guide us.

But we also have
to teach.
Of course.

And in order to teach,
we have to prevent trouble.

Let that be understood,
Mr. Davis.

Well, I understand.
It's your school.

I don't think,
I'm gonna like it here.

Hey, what do you know?

A, a, b.

A, b, a.

All a's and b's.

Doug, baby,

you must have kissed
a lot of behinds.

You got a big mouth,
don't you, leak?

I never got an a or b
in my whole life.

Beautiful, beautiful.

I don't think
I'm gonna like it here.

Look, why don't you wait
and see, huh?

Hey, don't tell me
you wanna be here?

Look, I'm not
knocked out about it,

but I'm gonna
make the best of it.

Look, no diploma,
no college.

I'm not gonna be
punching machine like
my old man all my life.

How come you
couldn't get out?

Well, my parents tried,

but there were too many
Caucasian transfers

The board of education
put the brakes on it.

Yeah, well, we're all
in that bag.


Uh-uh, no, no, no.

What do you mean?

This here fountain's
for blacks only.

Yours is in the back.

Keep your eye
on that one.

J.t. Watson.
He's no good.

Well, I wanna thank you all
for letting me take a part
of your lunch hour.

Sure, I haven't
covered everything.

Whatever I've left out
was no accident.

I don't know
anything about it.

Anyway, we'll be
going over all this again
in greater detail

before I start
giving you orders.

Thank you very much.

I'm Rita monahan.

Good to have you
with us.
Thank you.

We need dedicated
black men like you
down here.

It's very important.


Tell me, how are the kids
taking to history?

Not bad.

As long as you don't...
Oh, how shall I put it?

Make excessive
demands on them.

They really
make no demands,

just stretching
their muscles.

That's very good.

But before the negro
can enter the mainstream

and gain upward mobility,
he must have...

Tell him how
sympathetic you are

to the black problem
later, Rita. Excuse me.

Ivan Fowler. Civics.

Hello, Fowler,
how are things going?

Well, it's always
been tough to teach
at Lafayette.

Now, with
the white kids.

Frankly, I'm afraid
the place is gonna explode.

Hey, nothing's gonna
explode, Fowler.

Harry greco.

What department?

Well, you might say
I teach conduct.

I'm the security
guard here.

Ernie: Hey, Harry.

Better be careful how
you handle that thing.

You might shoot
your pecker off.

Oh... now you're
a real riot, McKay.

Or shouldn't
I say "riot"?

Excuse me.

Ernie McKay,
head jockstrap.

I could tell.

Listen, don't let
them rattle you.

There's a lot of
potential down here.
A lot of talent.

The things is,
you gotta find a way
to deal with it,

to channel it.

Must be frustrating.

Oh, stick around,
you'll find out.

Hi, there!

Now, here's a man
with real potential.

Selling real estate.
Right, Phil?

Phil Stuart. Algebra.

I gotta do something
to earn money?

Yeah, sure.
Come on, I'll introduce
you to a teacher.

Mr. Davis, miss Nash.


Excuse me.
See you around.


Nash? Lorraine Nash?


I hear it's easier
to get into fort Knox
than dealing this class.


I can see why.

What did you say
your name was again?

I can't remember.

Thank you.

Well, welcome
to Lafayette.

We can sure
use the help.

Where's it most needed?

You're looking at it.

Well, I'll do
whatever I can.

No, no. You see, we only
handle situations now,
we don't settle them.

So, when this year
is over, I leave.

You're not gonna go
and leave me here
all by myself, right?

I know that hasn't
happened to you much,
but you'll live with it.

Okay, turn 'em off.
Turn 'em off.

Sit anywhere for now.
I'll assign seats later.

Wait a minute.

I don't wanna sit
next to him.

This cat smells
like tuna fish.

Lerone: Hey!
Get off my chair!
This is my chair!

Sabin: Your momma smells
like tuna fish.

Students: Oh!

And that's my name.

We know who you is, man!

You're the quince.

Don't call out.

My name is Mr. Davis.

And I'll be teaching you
english 11b.

Nineteenth century,
American literature.

Oh, darling, oh!

Come on, settle down,
settle down.
Yeah, you two.

Now, the curriculum,
calls for us to start
with the early poets.

Men like
William Cullen Bryant,

Ralph Waldo Emerson.


John Greenleaf whittier.

And James Russell lowell.

Aw, shit!
Them old mothers again?

I know they're not
on your top 40.

Now, most of these men,
like, James Russell lowell,

though they lived over
100 years ago...

Say, what do you think that
James Russell whatever cat

would have done
under the boards
against bill Russell.

Hey, man. What's the most
you ever scored in a game,

Hey, didn't you play
in the Olympics?

Come on now,
not now.

Knock it off!

All right.
Knock it off.

If you want,
we'll talk basketball
later, all right?

Now, we're talking books.

I bet you were better
than any white cat
in the game.

Weren't you?

I didn't think so
against Jerry west.

Okay, back to work.

Now, like everybody else,
these writers had
their own special bag.

Quincy: Some of them were
called transcendentalist.

Be back in a second.

Hey, man.
Let me sit next
to the brother here.


Sit next
to the brother.


Yeah, sure.

There you go, man.

I wanna sit next
to the brother.

Why are you standing up?
Why don't you take a seat?

I forgot
where it was.

And I thought
all you honkies are
supposed to be so smart.

Knock it off, j.T.

You're not taking
the honky's side
against us, are you?

Next thing, you'll be
calling me a white racist.

Okay, back to work.

The book
we'll be reading

is the house of
the seven gables
by Nathaniel hawthorne.

Are you Mr. Davis?


You know him?

No. But I'm new here.

Excuse me.
Miss Nash, do you know
this young man?

Well, I'm not sure.

He looks familiar.

We thought
he might've gone
to school here.

Who's it?
We don't know.

He looks about 16,
so we figured he'd be...

Wait a minute!
Ellis. Deroy Ellis.

Lorraine: He was
in my home class,

but he dropped out
last year.

What's wrong
with him?
He's dead.

They had to shoot him.

Lorraine: Oh, no!

Nothing they could do.
He had a gun.

But he was a baby!

He had a gun.

We'll look him up.
Thank you.

Excuse me.

Excuse me.

God, if I don't
get out of here.

Look, I... I know
how you feel.

No, you don't.

You know,
I'm still hungry.


Hey, hey, Carter!

Shane was trying
to score with
your chick, man.

Hey, j.T.,
what's happening, man?

What's happening, man?

Nothing much.

Do you like it
here, man?

Yeah, yeah.
It's okay.

Listen, do me a favor,
will you?

Sharpen this for me.

Sure, j. T.

Hey! Hey, Martin!

Do you mind?

Thanks, man.

So, coach knackers comes
storming out of the door
and he raises his leg...

and shouting.

It splits
right down the middle.

It wouldn't be so bad,
but he had on
flowered shorts.

Pink flowered shorts.

Okay, settle down.

Quincy: Okay, okay.
Let's settle down.

First page,
house of the seven gables.

First row, first seat,

"Halfway down a by-street

"of one of our
new england towns stands

"A roust...Rusty,
rusty wooden house

"with seven...

"Accurate, accurate..."


Oh, "acutely," yeah.

"...acutely peaked gables,

"facing towards..."

Thank you, Fairchild.

You'll have
to work on it.



"points of the


"The street is



"Pyncheon street.

"The house is the old

"pyncheon house."

All right, Mae,
thank you.


So far this is
one hell of a story.



"A... the ass."

That's what it says.

"The aspect."

"The aspect of the...



That's what that was?

I know that word.

"...venerable mansion
has always...



"...me like a human..."

Did you prepare this
last night?

I did.


I'm playing, for real.

All right.

"...bearing the traces
not merely of outward
storm and sunshine,

"but expressive also,
of the long lapse
of mortal life,

"and accompanying
vicissitudes that
have passed within.

"Were these to
be worthily recounted,

"they would form a narrative
of no small interest
and instruction,

"possessing, moreover,
a certain remarkable unity,

"which might
also seem the result
of artistic arrangement.

"But the story would
include a chain of events

"extending over
the better part
of two centuries,

"and, written out with
reasonable amplitude..."

All right. Thank you.

That's enough.

Say, man.


You a surfer?

A what?
A surfer?

Uh, no.

I thought
all you white boys
were surfers.

You know what
they call this table?



That's funny.

Well, I have
been trying to
laugh about it.

Hey, you got
your congas, man?

Hey, you too?

What you got
on your mind?

Nothing big.

We just going to blow
black on some folks.

Right on.

I told you I didn't
want trouble here.

Quincy: I know
what you told me,
Mr. Wilkerson.

There's only one thing to do,
get rid of that j.T. Watson.

Now, look, I don't like
this kind of thing
any more than you do...

By tomorrow we probably
will have a dozen
white parents down here,

yanking their kids
out of school.

Do you want us to
lose our federal money?

But nobody...
We've got to get rid
of trouble makers.

No one was hurt.

Now, you throw Watson out,
you throw him
on the garbage heap.

Mr. Davis, we can't
worry about every kid
who refuses to fit in.

But we'll only be
passing the problem
onto the streets.

There's got to be a way
to reach these kids.

No one can.
Then what are
we here for?

That's not what I meant.

I mean...

There are some kids who
just can't be reached.

Then will you let me try
and do something
with this one?

You know, if you fail,
it's your responsibility
not mine?

Let me try.

Boys: One, two, three...

Not bad.

How you doin', j.T.?

Doin' good.

Nice out here,
isn't it?


That's what you came
out here to tell me?

Oh, no, I came out here
'cause I wanted to
get a sun tan.

Yeah, me too.

You're cool, man.

Real cool.


You know, I mean it.

Checked your record.

Lots of ability.
Lots of brain.

That's cool.

But throwing away diploma
just to blow black
on some white kids,

that's not so cool.

All you want to do is
protect them honkies.

Man, you got honkies
on the brain.

Yeah, well,
your crazy if you think

sixty devils going
to come in here
and make it, Jones.

They are here.

Now, be cool.

Don't get yourself booted out
just because you got
a thing against whites.

Look, they don't want us
in their schools,
we don't want them in ours.

How's it going?

As long as we stay
in the reservation.

I'm hip.

Look, it's not
going to be easy.

Some of the teachers
can help.

But I'm afraid you're
going to have to handle
most of it yourselves.

Yeah, but it's hard.


Just because
you're outnumbered,

I don't want you
to start feeling

that all the black kids
are down on you.

That's the way
I find it so far,
Mr. Davis.


Now, there's always
somebody who wants
to play hard.

So, you got
to be with it.

Well, for instance.

If you go to
the washroom,

it's always a good idea
to go in pairs.

Going alone is the easiest way
to get shaken down
for lunch money.

I go to the toilet
only at home.

Now, remember...

If you ever have trouble,
stand up to it
right away. Okay?

If you do need me,
give me a blast, huh.

Hey, any volunteers
for the John?

Move it out.

You Mr. Davis?

Well, I'm rodger
Perkins' father.

No, no, look. I don't want
to make any long speeches.

I want to get my boy
out of this place.


Let's go.
We're going home.

Well, I don't understand,
he's doing fine.

Doing fine? Things are
running wild down here
with you people.

What people,
Mr. Perkins?

I think you know what
I mean. Come on...

Pa, I'm doing okay.
Shut up!

Now, listen.

I pulled some strings
with a councilman I know.

It's all taken care of,
Mr. Davis.

Mr. Perkins, there are
problems here, sure.

Just as there are
out there.

Oh, yeah? Whose fault is it,
all these problems,
Mr. Davis?

Good question.

Well, you worry about it.


You better worry
about it.

Mr. Davis. Sir!

It's your...
Oh. Well, thank you.

Oh, sir.
You got a minute?

Sure. Sure.

At my old school
I played basketball.


Well, the trials are
coming up next week.

I thought I might go in
for the team.

Well, I don't know, Doug.

It's a chance.

Yeah, it is.

Now, remember
what's happening.

I don't know, man.
I don't dig the scene.

We are supposed
to be playing ball.

Man, when I was a negro
I had white friends,

but I'm a black now,
I ain't got none.

So, don't uncle Tom me,
you hear?


Coach: Squad one and two.

Let's go!

Let's go. Let's go.

Hi. How's it going?


Get it, Rick!

I think you better
get him out of there.

Coach: Okay,
squads three and four.

Coach: Come on, junebug!
Move it. Get in there!

All: One kick, two kick,
hop, turn.

One, two, three, kick.

One, two, three, kick.

One kick, two kick,
hop, turn.

Halt! Jumping Jacks.

One, two, three,
four, turn.

One, two, three,
four, turn.
Six more for daddy.

All: One, two,
three, four, hey.

One, two,
three, four, hey.

One, two,
three, four, hey.

One, two,
three, four, hey.

One, two,
three, four, hey.

One, two,
three, four, hey.

One, two,
three, four, hey.

One, two,
three, four, hey.

One, two, three...


Don't you have
Mr. Stuart's class
right now?

Yeah, but I had to study
for a test, Mr. Davis.

Oh, come on, man.

You ain't studying
nothing but the foxes.

Mr. Stuart, he's...

Well, there's
the bell.

you come along with me.

I can't.
I got to go to work.

Come along, Johnson.

You got time
to study the foxes,
you got time for me.

It will only take
a minute. Come on.

But I got to go.
Come on, Johnson.

I thought that's what
them dudes do only
after they get rich.

Uh-uh, even low life
slum niggers likes them.

Come on, amory,
let's go.

Why don't you sisters
stop woofing on people?

Why don't you
just cool it?

Cool it?

You're always talking
about being black.

Soon as one of you niggers
see a little white stuff,
you go up in smokes.

All that "black is beautiful"
turns to bull shit.

Come on, she's crazy.

Yeah, go ahead, run.

Take your little
miss clairol with you.

Not any kid can
keep a class laughing
the way you do.

Must be pretty sharp,
have good tools.

Well, that's true,
I've a pretty good tool.

Well, how come
you can't read.

You know
I don't know.

Come on, man,
you do.
I don't remember.

Well, you better
call your boss

'cause we are going
to be here for a while.
Sit down.

I never got around
to it, okay?
How come?

I don't care.
Well, I care.

Now, you're going
to read.

Oh, man, what for?

You know as well as me,
long as I shows up here
you gotta promote me.

That's the way
it is down here.

I don't give a damn
how it is down here.

You're going to
learn to read.

What? This here
is a baby book
I know, I know.

But we are going
to start here and
work our way up, lerone.

I'll tell you what.

Take it home with you
and start reading tonight.

I gotta...
I don't want any
arguments about it.

Why do I have
to read this?

Don't ask any questions,
just do what
I tell you. Okay?

Quincy: Yeah, and there goes
your ball game.


Hold on a second,
will you?

Where did
you get that?

In a trash can.

Hey, let me
call you back, eh?


I gave it to Johnson,
so he could learn
how to read.

If the other kids
saw him with it,
he'd never live it down.

The three little pigs
just doesn't work here.

Then what does work?

Welcome to the club.

How do I get
him started, huh?

He's been going to
school for 11 years
and he can't read.

I mean, you can just see
how bright that kid is.
And that's what hurts.

This place is
like Disneyland.

One teacher walks
around eating carrots.

He doesn't care,
so why the hell
should the kids?

Monahan, she thinks
she's some kind of
missionary down here.

Sets no standards.

'Cause she's just so sure
us niggers can't learn
nothing anyway.

And wilkerson...

He'd like to put bars
on all the windows.

Must be a way.


But when you've
banged your head
against the wall

as long as I have,
you'll feel the way I do.

And I'm going
to be retired
before I'm 30.

All: * three, four
gonna make that soar

* five, six...

But couldn't you have
picked a captain?

No. They wanted you.

Now, come along.

Hi, girls.

Hi, delores.
Hi, Angie.

Good afternoon.
How are you today?

All right, girls, let's do
but can you dig it okay?

Girls: Okay.

He's gorgeous.

Keep quite.
He might hear you.

Can't help it if
I dig older men.

All right, girls,
do your thing.

All right, set,
one, two.

* something inside us
won't let us rest

* but can you dig it?
'Cause our team
is really the best

* but can you dig it?
Going in and out
of our minds

* but can you dig it?

Now, that one
will be better.

* but can you dig it?
Mighty lions are
what we are called

* but can you dig it?
Step aside and
give us the ball

* but can you dig it?
Here tonight looking
brave and bold

* but can you dig it?
Hey, the mighty black
and the gold

* but can you dig it?
Hey, the mighty black
and the gold

* but can you dig it?

Hey, man,
what's going down?

What do you mean?

You know what
I mean, man.

You keep your eyeballs
off our women.

Do you mind
if I breathe?

You're a smart dude,
ain't you, man?

* but can you dig it?
Hey, the might black
and the gold

* but can you dig it?
Hey, the might black
and the gold

* but can you dig it?

Come on, man.
Somebody's coming.
Let's go.

Don't touch me,
I don't want any
of you near me.

Okay, kid.
Take it easy.
Take it easy.

I'm getting out of here.
I'm getting out of here.

All right, kid, okay,
we'll talk about it later.

I don't want to talk
about it later. I want
a transfer right now.

Doug, listen to me.

There are
no more transfers.

You'll have to wait
till next term.
I'm sorry.

You mean
I gotta stay here
after this, huh?

If you want
to graduate.

You know I'll help you
as much as I can.

Man, you discriminate
against me,
just like they do.

I mean, you downgrade
my papers,

you're not giving me
the grades I deserve.

Man, you discriminate
against me
'cause I'm white.

Now, Doug, stop.
'Cause I'm white.

Stop getting paranoid.
Yeah, 'cause I'm white.

Now, look...

Don't tell me
about discrimination.

You know
how I see it?
Just don't.

You know how I see it?
They can't stand
being shown up.

They quit before they start,
so they take it out on me.

And you're doing
the same thing.

Man, you guys really
stick together,
don't you?

Oh, you're all alike.

All right. That's it.

Break it up.
It's all over.
Let's go.

the white folks.

Man, you just like them
darkies on TV.

Gang up time,
eh, j.T.?

Real tough.

Oh, look man.

Why don't you just
hustle on back
where you came from.

We got these honkies
on the run down here.

You know...

I don't even remember
liking this stuff.

Maybe it's because
of that kid I didn't eat
anything but.

Go on.

I grew up playing
basketball right
around the corner.


Oh, you know
I made a... a hoop
from a clothes hanger.

Attached it to a lamp post
so I'd have enough light.

I'd be out there shooting
10, 12 hours a day.

Even in college
it was all basketball.

Seven days,
40 hours a week.

It was my whole life.

Dint you ever do anything
but play ball?


Oh, sure the coach said,
"education came first."

But you won
or you're out.

I mean, books,
forget it.

I never read a thing
I wasn't forced to

until one day
I picked up a copy
of treasure island.

You know, I stayed up
all night reading it.

Got so caught up in it
I couldn't stop.

And then I just read
myself right through
the public library.

Books, I mean,
just blew my mind.

And after that,
well, I took
a different road.

Because you didn't want
other kids to miss what
you had found, right?

No, I never thought
about that. I...

Yeah, I guess so.

And look where it got you,
Lafayette high school.

Could be worse.
Could it?

Oh, come on.

You're a teacher.

Oh, well, thank you
for telling me,
Mr. Davis.

Where have you been?

I've been there
four years.

And I'm telling you,
it is hopeless.

There are no answers.

And nothing
works down there.

Well, damn it.
Let's find something
that does.

Are you kidding?

With those
old fogies downtown
running the show?

Oh, they are riding
into the sunset.

Well, they are taking
their own damn sweet
time about doing it.


I don't know
what the answers are,
but I tell you one thing,

if the mold
doesn't fit the kids,

then maybe we should
break the goddamn mold
and save the kids.

Oh, Mr. Davis.

Rodger thornbush.

The state board
of education.

The story of my life.
You don't know
why I'm here.

I'm conducting a test.


What sort of test?

Simply trying to
Gauge the comparative
achievement levels

in some of our schools.
We... we sent you
a letter about it.

Oh, yes.

Mr. Thornbush,

I'm sorry,
but I'd rather not.

I mean, this test may
do something for
you and the board,

but not for my class.

Mr. Davis, I have
my instructions.

In that case,
I'll have to take it up
with the principal.

I already have.

Now, do you
all understand?

All I want is
a simple definition
for some words.

We'll start with
this young lady
and work back.


"Collateral." uh...



Next, "utopia."



That's some kind of, um,
special place, like, uh...

I don't know.

Next, "incentive."

Goal. Motivation.

Very good.

Next, "turgid."

Oh, yeah, yeah!

I know. He's the kid
who lives upstairs.
Mean mother.

Next, "thermofax."

Man, how come every test
we get these same old
bullshit words?

Mr. Davis.


Next, "automated."

Oh, man, leave me alone.
Ask the honkies.

Next row, "escalation."

I think that's enough
testing, Mr. Thornbush.

Mr. Davis,
I haven't finished.

Oh, yes, you have.

Now just a...
Mr. Davis!

Okay, okay.

Now, I know that test
shot some of you down,

but just because you
don't know the meaning
of words like "thermofax"

and "utopia" doesn't mean
you can't cut it.

It all depends on what's
been available to you.

What you're into.

Whether your folks
come from Connecticut

or Georgia. Dig?

Now, just to show
you what I mean,

let's have another go
at a test that's
not in the book.


What's a lowrider?

Why, everybody knows that.

That's when you got you
a Batmobile,

and you set it down
low to the ground,
and take off!

Sabin. What's "going
into a nod"?

It means you're
on the drugs, man.

Doug, who was
Wallace d. Fard?

I don't know.

Well, that's the cat
that started the muslims.

Who's irvine?

He... he's the fuzz.

What's "working the roof"?
That's old folks
casting spells.

Who died on February 21st?

Uh, Malcolm!
Students: Malcolm.

Swahili for "good morning,
what's happening, man?"

Blowing your box?
Playing am and fm.

Mat and tat?
Ma and pa.

A hog?
A Cadillac.

And what's lye
and potato peels
used for?

That's for
frying your cock.


Okay, so now we know
just how much you
all have on the ball,

but you're gonna have to
have a lot more.

'Cause there's all kinds
of books and ideas
and words.

And you're gonna learn
about them, all of you,
black and white.

And there will be
no exceptions
and no excuses. Clear?


Hi, Mr. Davis.
Hello, Greg.

Afternoon, Johnson.
Hi, Mr. Davis.

How is everything?

Glad to hear it.
Well, listen, I've got
some reading to do.

Is that right?

You know, I'm very interested
in your reading, Johnson,
tell me about it.

there ain't nothing to tell,
I'm in a hurry, Mr. Davis.


I've got a class,
the teacher's a hard-nose.
Oh? Who?

That's right,
isn't it?

I mean, if I'm here,
you can't be late,
can you?

By the way, I wanna
see you after class.
Okay, I'm gonna be there.

And you promise?
I promise I'll be there.

Johnson, don't let me down.
I'm not going to
let you down.

I cross my heart,
hope to die...
You're gonna be there?

Stick a needle in my eye.
I'm gonna be there.
All right, Johnson.

All right.
Go on then.

Mr. Johnson.

Look, that wasn't
no grass you saw
me smokin'.

That's not what I want
to talk to you about.

Oh, I've gotta be
at work by 5:00.

I know.
What kind of work
you do, Johnson?

Cleaning out air-conditioning
ducts downtown.

Is that what
you want to do?

Look, if you white, you write,
if you brown, hang around,

but if you black, get back.
That's where it's at.

Not if you push
your way to the front
and hold on tight.

Oh, yeah, I know.

It's been done.

You're gonna tell me
about bill cosby,
Carl Stokes and o.J.,

but you cats are

You'd make it
anywhere, anytime.

All I'm asking you
to do is try,

and you can't try
until you know
how to read.

I'm makin' it!
Like hell.

Hey, man,
cut me some slack.

Why didn't you read?

Oh, man, not that damn
baby book again.

It's no baby book.

Then it's
William Cullen Bryant.

Every time I hear
one of them dudes with them
three names, I goes under.

Come on, Johnson,
it's not what you think.

I'm not reading this book.


"He pulled her to him,

"her body soft

"but firm.

"Then he felt

"the press

"of her full,


Read, Johnson.

"Her full,

"heavy breasts

"and heard her sigh

"with pleasure.

"He felt the


"rising into his



"...into his loins

"And kissed her.


Oh, man, you've
gotta be kiddin'.

Read, Johnson.

Okay with me.

"She reached for

"His manhood

"and gasped
with delight.

the trees shook
in the wind."

Oh, god, no.

"'I didn't know
it would be like this,'
she whispered.

"He had never known
a woman so..."



"'Softly at first,'
she moaned.

"The moan rising as
her body clung to his...

"As her body clung to his,

"her silken thighs writhing

"her fingernails clawing
his back."

Oh, man.

Davis: Come on in.

Well, what can
I do for you?

Uh, I just thought
I'd sit in
and listen a while.

You know.
Me too.


Well, if you wanna stay,

you gotta play.

Rules of the game.

That's it.

Go ahead.

"As their desire

"reached its





"her whole body

"shuddered against his.

"'Don't stop,'
she cried."

Go ahead, I'm listening.

he felt a strange




"She had taken

"a piece of ice

"and jammed it

"into his flaming flesh."

"It was the most
exci...Exciting thing

"he'd ever seen.

"He felt a...

"Powerful longing

"in his



"In his..."

All: "Loins."

"...in his loins."

That was pretty good,

Next time we'll do
even better.

Okay, now let's try
something else.

A writer by the name
of d.H. Lawrence.


I want you
to start right here.

"He took her
in his arms again

"and drew her to him,

"and suddenly
she became small

"in his arms,
small and nestling.

"It was gone,

"the resistance was gone,

"and she began

"to melt in
a marvelous peace.

"And as she melted
small and wonderful

"in his arms,

"she became infinitely
desirable to him.

"And she felt him like
a flame of desire,

"yet tender,

"and she felt herself
melting in the flame.

"She let herself go.

"It came with a strange
slow thrust of peace,

"the dark thrust of peace
and a ponderous,
primordial tenderness,

"such as made the world
in the beginning.

"She dared to let go
of everything,

"all herself and be gone
in the flood.

"She was gone,
she was not,

"she was born a woman."

Man, that's beautiful.

Hey! Hi, Mr. Davis.


How's about a little game?

Looks like you've
got enough already.

No, no, no,
a two-man game.
Just you and me.

Some other time.

Ah, you might be too old
some other time.

Come on, let's see
if your gun's still loaded.

Hey, man,
give me that,
give me that.

Hey, yeah,
keep scores, man.
Scores and time.

Yeah, all right.

Come on, quince!
Come on, quince!

Quince got two, man.

Right on!

All right!
All right, j.T.

Two all.

Come on, quince,
you can do better
than that!

Crowd: Aw...

Crowd: Oh!

Don't worry about it!
Don't worry about it, j.T.

Put him
in the popcorn machine.

Go ahead, j.T.
Go ahead.

Pop him, go ahead,
pop him in...

Eight-two, baby, eight-two.
Give me another one, j.T.

Hmm, looks like
they got a little
something going.

Goodnight, Phil.

I'll see you, Boyd.


All right! All right!

How come you're
not watching
the playoff?

The what?
The generations are meeting
on the basketball court.

Boy 1: That was a foul!

Boy 2: Come on, quince.

Boy 3: Come on, quince!

Boy 4: Looking good.
Looking good.

Boy 5: Come on, quince!

Come on, quince!

Boy 5: Come on, quince!

Come on, quince!

Come on, quince!

Oh, come on!
Come on, baby, come on!

Girl: Come on, quince,
come on.

That's right, quince,
you got it.

Tied score.

We need a basket.
Come on, j.T.,
get him, man, get him!

Come on, quince!

Davis: The little bastard.

He nearly ruined me.


Put your feet in.

Go on.

No, I mean it.
Go on, it's great.





On the rocks?



Come on in.

Come on in,
the water's fine.

Come on in.

You've got to
be kidding.

No, I am not.

Haven't you seen any
of those Japanese movies?

Yes I have, but you
ain't no Japanese,
and that's a fact.

Get your feet
in the water?


Hey, that's really great,
you know?

Oh, man, it's not bad,
it's hot!
Hey! Watch that.


You're not some kind of
sex-maniac, are you?

Yeah, didn't you know?

You know, it's funny
to see you laugh.

You're always
so serious down at work.

Yeah, I didn't know
how lonely I was
till I came down here.

Well, I'm glad
you're here.

What with parties
and friends...

Well, what did you say?

I said, I'm glad
you're here.

Then why are
you leaving?

don't do that to me.

That magazine job
pays good money.


I need you.

I don't want to be needed
for any school.

Who said anything
about school?

Go dry your feet.



No cheating.

That's not cheating, man.

That's co-existence.

And bring your
papers with you.

What's up?

I finished this
screwed up test
a long time ago.

You come with me.

You're on your own
till I get back.

All right. What game
are you playing?

Man, what are you
trying to lay on me?
You know what I mean.

You got a 3.4 average,
that test was
a pushover for you.

Oh! Come on,
it was a drag.

You come with me, huh.

Do something with that.


I want you to
paint a mural.

A what?

A mural.

Come on, man.
That ain't my thing.

Don't "shuck" me, j.T.

I've seen your stuff
and I've checked with
your art teacher.

You can paint up a star.

What, angels and chairs?
Come on, man, get off it.

Nothing like that.

I'm talking about a wall
of respect. Black heroes.

Crispus attucks, nat Turner,
Benjamin banneker, Frederick
douglass. Anyone you want.

And you can
take all the kids
you need to help you.

Yeah, but, hell,
man, the man he...

I'll take care
of the man.

You take care
of the wall.

All right?

Sorry about that.

Wait a minute.
Hold on, sister.
Hold on.

See, this here gesso
it seals the wall.


All right, well, unless
you really lay it on heavy,
it ain't gonna seal.

And the paints gonna...
It's gonna seep in.

Oh... oh, I get you.

All right, okay.

Don't be afraid.
Go on.

How am I doing?

Out of sight.

Give me that,
would you?

Man, that don't look
like no mural to me.

You got to lay
the gesso on heavy
for a free drawing.

Then you got to draw
the perspective lines.

Otherwise you get
all messed up, man.

You dig?

I'm a free soul, man.
I don't see how come

we just don't go ahead
and paint the mother.

Girl: Will you leave
him alone?


You get the message?

Not bad, huh?

Yeah, but there's
somebody left out.

Jimmy: Who?

Uh, John brown.

Hey, who that hunky?

That's no hunky.

That's John brown.

Even Malcolm dug him.

Damn it!


Oh, say, listen.


What's the difference
between a cosine
and a tangent?


All term long they've
been busting my back
with cosines and tangents.

And every time
I think I got it right,
I got it wrong.

Yeah, let me see it.

It's a lot of crap.

Oh, maybe old Johnson
would know.

Hey, Johnson.
Give me a hand here, man.
I'm a having a...

What do you say, leak?

Nigger lover.

Oh, lerone,
that's wrong.

Let me show you.

Have a triangle, right?

Black power.

The only power they got
is in their pants.

Will you
knock it off, huh?

After what they did
to you, you're still
sucking up to them.

Look, man. I'm not
crazy about them all,
but I got to live here.

Oh, yeah? Well, I don't.

I'm getting out of this
one way or the other.

Hey, Johnson.

You... you got a minute?

Yeah, okay, man.
We'll see you.

Yeah, I got it.

Yeah, okay.

What you want?

Come here.

Come here, come here.

Listen, uh...

You got any chicks?

You know, a hooker.


Come on, man.

You must know a hundred
colored chicks selling it.

Hey, man.
What's the matter
with you?

Hey, quit it, would you?

Leaky: Goddamn...

Break it up, break it up.
I said, "break it up".

Damn, nigger!
I'll show you!

God, you want
to hit somebody?

Hit me. Go on.

Stop it. Stop!

Stop it.

Lorraine: Stop it!

You'll hurt him.
Stop it.

You black bastard.


Stop it.

Lorraine: Stop him.

I'll give you
a goddamn Korean war!

Stop it.

Davis: No, it wasn't
Johnson's fault.

I don't care,
they both go.

Mr. Wilkerson,
if that kid can graduate,
I can get him...

We can't have them here.

I'm begging you.
Don't waste it.

When are you
going to learn.

This wouldn't have happened
if you got rid of that
j.T. Watson when I said.

Look, I can't afford to
have any more trouble here.

The newspapers and television
live on this sort of thing.

I have a reputation
to maintain.


Yes, a reputation.

And I'll not have it
said that Boyd wilkerson
can't control his school.

What do you
control this for?

So, I can get out.

I'm not wanted down here.

There's an opening on
the board next year
and I'm getting it.

And what do we
do till then?

These kids are
calling for help now.

What are we going to do?

I'll tell you what
you're going to do.

You're going back
to teaching.

From now on, there'll
be no more murals,
no more sex books.

No more basketball games
with the students.

We're going back
to the rules.

They don't work anymore.

I'm warning you,

You do it my way or
you're out of the system.

We're going back to
established procedures.

To hell with
established procedures.

They are dried up
and they don't work.

We have got to
find new ways.

Ways that will
give these kids
some kind of a chance.

What's going
to happen?
What happened?

Kick them out?
Johnson too?

But that ain't right.
This never
would've happened

if we got rid
of them honkies.

That wouldn't have
changed a thing.
Not for any of you.

Hell! You thought
he found his mind
down here?

You thought
he could do something?

But when
push comes to shove,
you can't do nothing.

Well, I know what
I'm going to do.

Quincy! Where you going?

I don't know.
I'm just getting
the hell out of here.

You just can't go away.

Why not?
What's the use?

Please, listen to me.


Now, you once told me

that if I left,
it was like
telling those kids

that there was
no way out. No hope.

Well, now I'm telling you.

You can't leave.

The hell I can't.

Look, they got
their indifference
and their hate.

So what do they
need me for?

* do you hear it

* can't you hear it

* reachin' out to you

* trying to
touch your hand

* and asking you
to understand

* you gotta understand

* reachin',
reachin', reachin'

* reachin' out to you
* tell me

* do you see it?

* can't you see it?

* reachin' out to you

* trying to
show your eyes

* trying to
make you realize

* reachin' out to you

* you know
you got to realize

* life is

* rising like
a muddy river

* falling

* falling like
the evening sun

* crying out

* they're crying out
to every brother

* to every brother

* telling it
to everyone

* to everyone

* reachin',
reachin', reachin'

* reachin' out to you

* do you feel it?

* can't you feel it?

* can't you feel it
in your heart?

* asking for love
to start

* asking for
love, love, love

* reachin' out to you
* feel it, feel it, feel it

* whoa, yeah
* feel it in your heart

* asking for love
to start

* reachin' out

* to you


Tell us something.

Something personal.

Like what?

We wants to know
you blonde all over?

Hey! Hey, now look.

Hey, come on.
Let me through.

Hey, come on.
Don't do this.

Please don't.

Oh! Stop it.


Stop, stop.

Stop or I'll...

Stop it.

Girl: What did I tell you?

Why don't you go back
where you come from, boy?

Oh, come on.

We don't
want you down here.

You honkies have
given us enough trouble.

Look, I had nothing to
do with Johnson getting
kicked out and you know that.

Girl: No, don't.

Boy: Punch him, j.T.

Punch him!

Hit him, j.T.

Break it up.

Stop it.

That's enough.

Stop it.

I want to see you both
in my office.

Quincy: Everybody,
back to class.

I want no honkies.

We're not going

Right on!

Strike! Strike!
Strike! Strike!

Strike! Strike!
Strike! Strike!

Strike! Strike!
Strike! Strike!

Strike! Strike!
Strike! Strike!
Stop it.

Strike! Strike!
Strike! Strike!
That's enough. Now cut up.

Now cut it out!

back to class.

Strike! Strike!
Strike! Strike!

Strike! Strike!
Strike! Strike!

Strike! Strike!
Strike! Strike!

Boy: I'm gonna kill
that goddamn honky.

Come on, fellas.
Now... now, boys!

I'm on your side,
but we cannot have this.

I demand that you return
to the class.

Strike! Strike!
Strike! Strike!

Strike! Strike!
Strike! Strike!

Strike! Strike!
Strike! Strike!

Strike! Strike!
Strike! Strike!

Strike! Strike!
Strike! Strike!

Strike! Strike!
Strike! Strike!

Black power!


Strike! Strike!
Strike! Strike!

Strike! Strike!
Strike! Strike!

Listen to me, all of you.
This is not a jungle.

I warn you.

Get inside, all of you,
or every single ringleader
will be expelled.

I warn you.
Get inside, all of you.

For the last time,
get inside or
I'll call the police.

Let me handle this,
will you?

You failed, Mr. Davis.

You failed me,
the school, everybody.

Mr. Greco,
call the police.

You don't give a damn,
do you?

Whether these kids
push brooms

or park cars
for the rest
of their lives.

Well, I do.

You're just serving your
goddamn time down here.

Get out. You're through.

One of us is through.

All right.

I'm asking you now,
go on back in there.

He's whistling
the same jive as them.

Listen to me now.
Listen... listen to me.

Listen! Listen to me!

Listen to me, will you?

Listen to me.
Listen, will you?

There's something
in there we need.

Man, why don't you
drop all that Tom jive.

That's right, sabin.

Something you need,
something we all need.

'Cause without it,
you ain't never
gonna make it.

Now, listen to me.

I know
things ain't the way
they ought to be yet.

But let me
tell you like it is.

The beginning.
The first step is in there.

Now, I know,
maybe some of you
don't want it at all.

Maybe some of you
are willing to give it up

just because
of a few whites
in your class.

Well, you going
to have to learn.

That white ain't right
and black ain't right.
Only right is right.

We've got one chance now
to make this place work
for all of us.

But I can't do it alone.
I need you.

Need any help?


We can handle this
by ourselves.

Quincy: Johnson!
Get on in there.

All right.

I'm going back, man.

But I'm going back for
my thing. Not yours.

Well, that's fine, j.T.

You think you had
a hassle with me,

wait till you get
my kid brother.

Not me, man.
I've had it.

You won't graduate.
I don't care.

Then what?
I don't care,
I tell you.

Now, you listen to me.

You have
never understood why
so many black kids give up.

Well, you're doing
the same thing.
Don't, man.

It's not the same...
Well, damn right it is.

And you've only had a taste
of what they've had to live
through all their lives.

Maybe now you understand
why they're so full
of anger.

What it takes to
be black and survive
in a white world.

Come on, man,
don't con me.

Everybody knows they
had to drag you down here.
You're dying to get out.

I'm staying.

Well, I can't.
I've tried.

Then try again.

Aren't they for this?
Maybe and maybe not.

Sure, they're not going to
throw their arms around you.

You'll still be
a white kid
in a black school,

but at least they'll
respect somebody who
has the guts to say,

"I have the right
to be here."

Hell, they've been
saying that for a long,
long time themselves.

* rising
* rising

* like a muddy river

* falling

* falling like
the evening sun

* can't you
hear me crying?

* crying out
to every brother

* telling it
to everyone

* telling it
to everyone

* telling it
to everyone

* do you feel it?
* feel it

* can't you feel it
* feel it

* can't you feel it
in your heart?

* asking for love
to start

* reachin' out

* to you