The Best of Enemies (2019) - full transcript

Civil rights activist Ann Atwater faces off against C.P. Ellis, Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan, in 1971 Durham, North Carolina over the issue of school integration.

Subtitles by explosiveskull

[man] I think one of the most
emotional moments of my life

was the night that
I was initiated into the Klan.

I was led into the Klavern
hall, which was dark.

The only light that I could
see was a fiery cross.

And that...
put me through the ceremony.

Purified me with water.

Laid his hand
on my shoulder, says,

"You're part of
the Invisible Empire,

United Klans of America."

And there was a tremendous
applause throughout the auditorium.

And I came up off the floor
really in tears.

Because that's what I'd been
looking for all my life.

An opportunity to be heard,
an opportunity to be something.

[woman] I first told him,
"Hell no!" [audience laughs]

I would never, ever.
But kill him, that's all I want.

That was on my heart
to kill him.

This is the kind of reputation
that I have in Durham.

I'm not bragging about it,
but it is the truth.

You can call Durham,
and they will tell you.

Uh, no, I will not take no for an answer.
I have to have the word "yes."

Because all of our blood,
when it comes out, is the same color.

I haven't seen any blood different
yet than the color of mine.

And I'm sayin' whatever you believe in...
I keep sayin' it...

stand on it, baby, stand on it.
[audience applauding]

[crowd clamoring]

[clamoring continues]

[chanting] Equal housing now!
Equal housing now!

Equal housing now!

[woman] They call this Magic
City, Mr. Atkins.

Ain't no magic here.

Abe Greenfeld ain't nothin'
but a vile slumlord.

You know it, and I know it.

And the black people
of East Durham

have the same rights
as anybody else.

This girl, Mr. Atkins,

this young lady is a single
mother of three children.

And she wake up this morning
to an eviction notice.

But there's no hot water. What, baby,
for two weeks? That's right, Miss A.

Two weeks, and you say, what?
No toilet? No toilet.

No toilet. And that ain't
no way for no human to live.

[stifled laugh]

Mr. Atkins,
we done writin' letters here.

We want to be heard before
tomorrow night's ruling.

Miss Atwater,
you know our agenda is tight,

and we simply cannot allot time
to everybody that wants to speak.

- [telephone rings] -Now thank you.
Show yourselves out.

Mr. Tucker, to what
do I owe this pleasure?

Sit down.
[Atkins laughs]

And a mighty fine afternoon
to you, too.

Now you listen to me, Councilman!
And you too, Mr. Tucker!

We ain't goin' nowhere until
we get down to the brass tacks.

You understand me?
Everything all right here, Bill?

Mr. Oldham, now we have been
sitting here for over half an hour.

- The councilman ain't done nothin' but...
- Ann.

Ann. We're gonna give you your
chance to speak tomorrow night.

Are we good now?

[chuckles] Not yet.

Come on.

[insects buzzing]

[man] Samuel Grace. Ayes?

[all] Aye.

Okay, then. Fred Eggert,
Gene Waddle, and Samuel Grace

are tentatively approved
as new citizens

of North Carolina Unit Nine
of the Invisible Empire,

United Klans of America.

Kligraph is directed
to certify the petitions

and prepare the oaths
for ceremony.

Roy, next week should be fine.

Final item.
Combat and firearms training

resumes this Saturday
from noon to 4:00

under the supervision of
second officer Floyd Kelly.

And I'll remind the Youth Corps members
that this training is mandatory.

Y'all hear me?
I'm talkin' to you.

[men chuckling]

Let's bow our heads.

Heavenly Father, give us strong
minds, great hearts,

true faith, and ready hands.

Keep us unfettered
from the world

that we might fight
the good fight

and be worthy
to claim the prize.

May we as brethren and Klansmen
be steadfast and unremovable.

As we go hence
from this Klavern

into the struggle
of the alien world,

let us not forget the crowning
glory of a Klansman is to serve.

Non silba, sed anthar.

Not for self, but for others!

Get him ready.

You can say that again.
He was born ready.

Ready or not.

Mr. Ellis?

Oh, hey.

This is, uh, this is the new
boy I was telling you about.

Oh, sure. Sure, sure.

Sure, Ben.
Come on in the office.

I'll see you fellas.

Have a seat.

What's your name, son?

[clears throat]
Leonard, sir.

Don't be nervous, Leonard.

Ben here tells me you'd like to
be a part of the Youth Corps.

Yes. Yes, sir.

Why do you want to be in
the Youth Corps, Leonard?

[clears throat]
To help...

To help protect
the white race of America

from the communist niggers
and Jews who threaten us, sir.

That's a good boy.
[desk drawer opens]

But that's not all.
[drawer slides shut]

It's our rights,
our freedoms,

our way of life
that need protecting.

We're an endangered species,

You understand?

I do.

Let me show you something.

You see that?

One day, this will be
your most prized possession.

It will give you everything
you need in your life.

Brotherhood, standing in the
community, and a sense of pride

that you're part of something
bigger than yourself.

But most importantly,
it will be a reminder every day

that you will no longer be
an outsider.

[box shuts]

Welcome to the Youth Corps,


We gonna
take care of that thing?


Ben, bring the car around,
out back.

[engine off]

Now what?

We wait.

[man chuckling]

[radio: man singing ballad]
[humming along]

[song continues on radio,

[engine off]

[car door opens]

[dog howls]

She got a nigger boyfriend.
[lighter clicks]

The neighbors have
been complaining.

Stay here.

[song continues]

Wait for the light, Wiley.


[chorus vocalizing,
fading out]

[telephones ringing]
[typewriters clacking]


Hey. Thank you. Mm-hmm.

Miss Dupree.

Miss Dupree... Yes, I know,
Miss Dupree, but...

Hold on, Miss Dupree.

Miss Dupree says
she can't make it. Her kids...

Oh, no. Come here.

Cissy, you better get your ass
down to City Hall tonight.

No, no,
I don't want to hear that.

I have been a single mother
ever since I was 16,

and that's a whole hell
of a lot longer than you.

- [chuckles] -Well, child,
it's supposed to be hard.

Are you gonna be there
later tonight or what?

I better see your face
lookin' black and angry.


Who's next?

[bell dings]

Hey, Jeb, I'll take this one.

[Jeb] Sure, Mr. Ellis.

Finish up that tire for me, will you?
All right.

Can you
fill the place tonight?

You know I can, Carvie.
What's up?

We're ruling
on Greenfeld tonight.

Ann Atwater and all her
Operation Breakthrough niggers

are gonna make a scene.
I just need numbers.

Jesus. Greenfeld.
You gonna help that scum?

[Carvie chuckles]
You know, C.P....

Reelection here.
He got deep pockets.

I need to
at least appear supportive.

And you need to keep your
friends on the city council.

[car door opens, closes] I know, Carvie.
We'll be there.

[soul plays; hands clapping]

[song continues]

[song stops]

[C.P.] Oh, you late. Yeah.

I guess that's
what they call Africa time.

[men laugh]

[female clerk]
First item on the docket.

In the matter of the
Edgemont community housing,

the council will first hear
from Mr. Paulsen,

representing Mr. Greenfeld.

[spectators groaning,

Good evening.

As you know,
Mr. Greenfeld prides himself

on providing comfortable
housing at affordable rent

to a great many people
in Durham.

[gavel raps]

The council will hear
Mr. Paulsen.

As with any dwelling,
from time to time,

there undoubtedly will be some...
wear and tear.

- [laughing, scoffing] -Mr. Greenfeld fully
intends to address any of these issues

that these folks might have.

However, with
the recent inclement weather,

Mr. Greenfeld has had insufficient
time to get to everyone.

That's a lie.

[gavel raps] We ask that
the council grant us

the 90-day extension
for these minor repairs.

Thank you.

Miss Atwater?

Uncomfortable housing
and unaffordable rent

are about the only two things
Abe Greenfeld has ever given us.

[exclaiming, applauding]

I have here with me

79 written complaints from
the residents of Edgemont.

Each and every last one of
them is a code violation.

[exclaiming, applauding]
[gavel raps]

I brought 'em here with me
'cause, obviously,

you ain't get 'em the first couple
times when they were sent here.

[exclaiming, applauding]

[gavel raps]

Now we are fed up
with this man

and his eviction notices
and his rent hikes.

He has absolutely no care for
his tenants' living conditions.

We humans. Humans shouldn't
have to live like this.


[gavel rapping]

Thank you for your comments,
Miss Atwater.

And I will personally

pass those complaints
on to the housing commission

for future review.

At this time,
the council will grant

the requested
90-day extension.

Thank you all. This council will
now stand in recess till next week.


[woman] Put down that
paper, Claiborne.

Put it down.
All right. Okay, Mama.


Hey, it's time
to visit with your children.

I'm visiting. I-I...

I'm visiting.

How's your marks, Tim?

Tim, answer your father.

I'm gettin' an "F" in math.

That's 'cause you're stupid.

Well, I know it ain't for
a lack of trying, son.

Maybe your teacher can give you
a little extra time after school.

I don't think this teacher.

Why not?

She said I just ain't got
a head for numbers, Daddy.

She said
that don't matter, though.

Said I'll just work in the gas
station with you when I grow up.


Maybe this teacher
ain't so smart.

I'm gonna stop in at Murdock this
morning before I go in. See your brother.

- Give him a kiss for us, Daddy.
- You bet.

I don't like that place.

That's 'cause it's full of
weirdos and retards.

Kenneth Wade!

Don't be
calling your brother that.

I wasn't talking about him.

- He just ain't as lucky as you is all.
- That's right.

I'm sorry.

You be sorry
cleanin' that table.

Yes, sir.

I better go.
Give me some sugar, sugar.

Bye, Daddy.

[Ann] Let's go, girls.
Move your backsides.


Girl, you forgot your lunch.

You'd forget your head if it wasn't
attached to your shoulders. Go on now.

[nurse] Hey, come on.
Help me out here.

Come on.

No. You gotta
help me out here.

Hey, buddy.

Hey, buddy.

It's Daddy.

How you doing, pumpkin?

You have breakfast yet?

Pancakes this morning.

Oh! Hey, buddy,
that's your favorite.

Thank you.

You got eggs
and maple syrup.

"Oh My Darlin' Clementine"]

Supposed to cut this up
ahead of time.

He can't swallow all this.

There you go.

There you go.

So you must multiply
the three on this side by two.

But remember,
whatever you do to the bottom,

you must do to the top,

So, I want you to go ahead,

work out the equations
that I gave you.

Let's do the next one,
let's see what you come up with.

All right?

[metallic creaking]

[alarm bell ringing]

[children screaming, shouting]

[woman] Don't...


[sirens approaching]

Over here. Come on.


Ann Atwater.

Hey, baby.

[Marilynn] Mama!

Thank God. [exhales]

Are you okay?
I'm okay.

Okay, baby. You go wait in the car.
I'll be right there.

Is anybody hurt? Everyone's okay.
Just lots of smoke.

How did it start?

Most likely electrical,

the way they keep
this place up.

Or it could've been set
on purpose.

No. Klan ain't that stupid.

[man] Why do you say that?

When a black school burns,

Then what?

Then the black kids
gotta find a new school.


Turns out,
he left the thing in neutral.

It rolls
right back into the ravine.

They didn't find that truck
for two weeks.

Oh, are you talking about how
small your pecker is again, Wiley?

That ain't funny, Doreen.

Yeah, it ain't that kind of funny.
That's for sure.

[song on jukebox, muffled]


[Floyd] You-You wait...

The guy's got one arm.


Garland... Garland Keith, my friend.
You're out late.

You wanna have a seat?
No, thank you. Gentlemen.

Well, something must be awfully
important for you to lower yourself

to come to a dump like this, Garland.
Floyd, come on now.

No, no. Mm-mmm.

I like
the White Citizens' Council,

with their parade floats and
their fancy country club meetings.

I'm always honored to mop up after
'em, do the dirty work.

You'll have to excuse Mr. Kelly.
It's been a long week.

[Garland] Sorry to say it's
about to get a bit longer.

There was a fire out at
East End Elementary today.

So what? It's a black school.

The parents have already filed
a petition to allow the students

to finish out the year
at Durham Elementary School.

There's an emergency
council meeting tomorrow.

Well... Ann Atwater?

I think so.

[C.P.] This ain't no small
landlord dispute, Garland.

We gonna need everybody
on this one.

Well, that's why
I'm here, C.P.

Were you scared?

A little.


It's gonna be
all right, okay?

All right, baby?
You get some rest.

Try to go to sleep, okay?

You warm enough?

[Marilynn] Mm-hmm.

[kisses, chuckles]


Where are we gonna
go to school now?

Don't you worry
about a thing, okay?

Mama gonna find you
somewhere real nice to go.

Say your prayers.

[male reporter]
The fire was strictly limited

to the building's facilities
and perhaps equipment.

[man] I know your first appearance
here, you can't make an opinion...

I'm not gonna have them kids
going to Tim's school.


Well, they gonna
put 'em somewhere.

Ain't gonna be
in Durham Elementary.

Tim having enough trouble
without more distractions.

May have to look into one of them
private schools outside of town.

Oh, yeah. How we gonna pay for that?
I'm workin' on it.

It ain't gonna work until you start
sellin' gas to the other half of Durham.

What's that
supposed to mean?

You know what it means.

That's not fair.
Oh, fair.

Hey. Come on.
It's not fair, it's a fact.

It's not fair
'cause you know I can't.

How's it gonna look
if the president of the Klan

is puttin' gasoline
in a nigger's car?

How's it gonna look to my Klan folk?
Oh. Oh, I see.

I... I didn't know
that the Klan pays your bills.

I didn't think so.
[groans] Here we go.

You spend all that time
at Klavern hall

jaw-jackin' about them niggers
and them commies and them Jews.

- I don't sound like that.
- Yeah, you do.

Give me some...

Claiborne Ellis,
you smell like beer.

I'm not gonna have them kids
going to our school.

This emergency council meeting
was called late last night

after an apparent
electrical fire

destroyed nearly half
of East End Elementary School.

They've been in session
for nearly three hours now.

[spectators chattering]

This council is facing
some difficult decisions.

Tonight, we've had to consider how
these decisions will affect the students

of not one school, but two.

We've heard testimony
from the marshal

that eight classrooms
and three common areas,

including the gymnasium,

were unaffected by the fire.


Have you been to the school?
She's breakin' the rules.

No, no. Ain't nobody talkin' to
you, C.P., so shut your mouth.

- Miss Atwater, you've had your time.
- I've seen the school.

And if that marshal says that
school is habitable for children...

Miss Atwater,
you have had your time.

...then he's just lyin'
or he just plain stupid!

- [C.P.] Why don't you shut up?
- Don't make no sense.

- [gavel raps]
- [clamoring]

[man] Shut up!

We will have quiet
in the chamber!

- [clamoring quiets] -Now what
we talkin' about is important,

and you're gonna damn well
listen to us, Mr. Steele.

[Carvie] Miss Atwater.

Miss Atwater.

Kindly take your seat before
I have a deputy remove you.

Now then...

it is the opinion
of this council

that there remain
two basic questions.

One, is East End
a safe and habitable place

for its students to finish
their school year?

And two, would the students
of Durham Elementary

be unfairly burdened by the sudden
and massive influx of new students?

Our answer
to both of these questions...

is yes.

[scattered applause]

With the limited number of
classrooms that remain at East End,

the students will be put
on a split-shift system.

One from 7:00 a.m. to noon,
the other from noon to 5:00.

We're good. I got it.

[man] Miss Atwater?

Who the hell are you?

Miss Atwater,
we're from the NAACP.

[male reporter]
WDNC news time, 9:00 a.m.

Recapping our top story, the NAACP's
legal action is causing quite a stir

inside the county's
district court,

one source saying
he would not want to be

in Judge Les Hallford's shoes
this morning.

- [woman] Good morning, Your Honor.
- [sighs]

[Hallford exhales]

- Is that it?
- Just arrived.

Full and immediate integration
of all Durham public schools.

[Hallford exhales]

Get Wilbur Hobby in here.

Yes, sir.

You've passed things down

Ah, you know
I can't do that.

These idiots just sent kids back
into a school that's still smokin'.

I pass it down, it's the same
as ruling against.

I know. I just wanted to
make sure you knew that.

I asked you here for your
counsel, Wilbur, not a lecture.



What if you held off,
delayed your ruling?

[scoffs] Delaying the inevitable,
that's all that would be.

No. You delay to allow the people of
Durham to reach their own decision.

I'm not following, Wilbur.


- I know a guy.
- [chuckles] You know a guy?

Yes, I know a guy.

He runs a department at
Shaw University down in Raleigh.

He does this thing.
Uh, he holds charrettes.


They're kind of, uh,
these official community summits

with people from both sides
of the problem.

They're called charrettes.
He's had some pretty good results.

Wilbur, get this guy of yours
up here.

[phone rings]

Wilbur Hobby's on the phone.

Wilbur Hobby.

Why does
this phone call worry me?

Well, what a coincidence.

I was hoping
it would worry you.

[Bill laughs]

How are you, Wilbur?

Looks like you're havin'
some trouble up there.

Well, nothing a heavy dose
of Bill Riddick can't solve.


Look, Bill, I, uh...
I heard York went well.

York, Pennsylvania, isn't
Durham, North Carolina, Wilbur.

Well, all the more reason
we need you.

Look, you're the only one
that does this.

it'll get you outta the house.

Delores even said
you're driving her crazy.


We've been
drivin' each other crazy.

All right, Wilbur.

All right.

- I'll see you in a few hours, Bill.
- A... A few hours?

[dial tone]

I've asked Bill Riddick here

to conduct
a ten-day community charrette

so that the citizens of Durham
can finally come to a resolution

on the school integration

The city council
will abide this resolution

and enact
the will of the people.

That gutless fool.


Abide? It's not even defined.

He's making us
define it.

What are we gonna say
to the press?


At least not till
we get a legal opinion.

And in the meantime,
what in good Christ is a charrette?

[man singing pop song]

[continues on radio]

[continues, indistinct]
[bell dings]

Uh, yeah, we don't sell
gasoline to niggers here.

I'm not looking for a fill-up.
Mr. Ellis?

My name is Bill Riddick.


Wilbur Hobby suggested I...

- Wilbur Hobby sent you here?
- Yeah. He said I should come see you, yeah.

He said you represent a great
many people in this town.

He'd be right about that.

Well, Mr. Ellis,
I've been asked to organize a charrette.

I read the newspaper.

Oh. So then you know...
Hold on.

Are you here to ask me to come to
your, uh, integration meetings?

Well, for now, just lunch.


With, uh...
with me and with Ann Atwater.

Come again?

Well, I was hoping you'd come to
lunch with me and Ann Atwater.

- Ann Atwater?
- Ann Atwater.

[stifled laugh]

What did Wilbur Hobby think
I'd say to that?

Well, he thought
you would say no.

- He'd be right about that, too.
- Well, see here, Mr. Ellis...

You're not from around here, Mr....
Riddick. I'll help you out.

Folks in this town,
and especially me,

want niggers to stay
in their own schools.

That's definitely one of the
options, Mr. Ellis.

But right now,
I'm gonna leave you my card.

The local number is
on the back.

You change your mind...
Boy, you better get on outta here.

Go on, git.
Like I told you.

Mr. Ellis,
I hope you reconsider.

This charrette is happening. So, uh,
if you truly represent your people...

represent them.

Have a good day.

[Carvie] We know this makes
you uncomfortable, C.P.

But goddamn it, it's the best
thing that could have happened.

"Uncomfortable" isn't exactly
the word I'd use for it, Carvie.

C.P., what do you think
would happen

if a lily-white liberal was
in there instead of you?

Nothing good.

A liberal and Ann Atwater
would pass integration

faster than a hot knife
through butter.

That's what don't make no sense.
[Steele] What don't?

This Riddick nigger wants
school integration, right?

So why me?
Why put that on himself?

I shoulda been
the last person on his list.

C.P., this judge...

Our hands may be tied.

But it won't matter if we
have a friend on the inside.

And especially if that friend
is C.P. Ellis.

Oh, Charlie, I...

He's about to hand you
the keys to school integration,

and you're going to
lock the door.

[softly singing hymn]

- Hey! How you doin'? How your dad doin'?
- [man] Good.

How late is he?

Twenty minutes.

C.P. comin' to have lunch
with two niggers. [scoffs]

He'd just as soon shoot us
than do that.

Y'all northern folks
just don't get it.

I'm from North Carolina,

Oh, yeah? Where about?

Hertford County.
That still north of here.

He's here.

[Ann] Here he go.

Would you look at
that crazy white man?

Just pacing back and forth.

I ain't waitin' for that cracker.
I'm hungry.

Mr. Ellis?
Please, come sit down.

Well, uh, okay.

Um, thank you both
for coming.

this is a first step...

Hey, I'm not gonna sit here one
minute longer than I have to, so...

Well, go on and git, then. That way, me
and Bill can have a civilized conversation.

Mr. Ellis, um,

I'm holding a steering committee
meeting here on Saturday.

And I've invited people who represent
all types of citizens in this community.

All types?
Only two types in this town.

Well, whites, black,
liberals, conservatives.

For a charrette
to be successful,

we need to bring together a
large number of diverse people.

The only folk he gonna bring,

they gonna be wearing
sheets and hoods.

Ain't that right, C.P.?

[stammers] Hold on.

If you already have
a meeting set,

what the hell am I doing
sitting here?

Well, you're here,
both of you...

because I need two co-chairs
to lead the charrette.


I'm gonna think about it,
you know,

'cause I wouldn't want your type takin'
over this, uh... what'd you call it?

Charade? [laughs]

I don't know
what you're up to either.

I don't like it.
You could use me for my help. That's fine.

But I am not gonna work
with that cracker.

So you need to look
somewhere else.

This corn bread is good.

[woman] I would love it.

[people chattering]

Let me help you clear this.

It was delicious.
Very nice of you. Thank you.

You outdid yourself,
Mrs. Keith.

Oh, well, thank you.

Ten days is a long time
with them people, Garland.

It's also a long time for them to
be making decisions on integration

without us having a voice.

That's not gonna make it
any easier to sell to my people.

Well, you're their
president, C.P.

You just make 'em understand.

Hell, it says so right there
in your Klan Creed:

"Failure to know your enemy gives
them aid and comfort" and all that.

I mean, the truth is, C.P., we...
we don't know the enemy at all.

Do we?

You're yankin' on the trigger
too hard.

Trick is to think of it as pressin'
the trigger, not pullin' on it.


Y'all heed this man, now.

Mr. Kelly here's an expert.

He even knows that word for when
you breathe out 'fore you shoot.

What's that called again?

Respiratory pause.
[men laugh]

See? What'd I tell ya?

All right, one more, then next up.
[man] All right.

You didn't care too much for
that conversation last night.

Well, when it's me and you,
it's fine.

I ain't much for talking
in mixed company.

Well, we do need
people there, Floyd.

And Carvie asked me
personally, so...

Yeah, I know it, C.P.
And I'll back you up on it.

But, uh... be careful.
Careful of what?

If you wrestle with a pig...
[gun cocks] gonna get muddy.

[Bill] Meeting these benchmarks
successfully will depend entirely

on the dedication and enthusiasm
of this steering committee.

And, uh, we haven't got
much time to get organized,

so priority one
will be to get the word out

and to recruit as many citizens as
possible to come and participate.

All right,
before we go any further,

we need to elect
our two co-chairs.

I nominate Ann Atwater...

and C.P. Ellis.

But he's a Klansman.

And we're talking
about integration.

Uh, Mr. Riddick, I already done
told you I won't work with that man.

That'd be just fine with me.

Everybody know it would be
just fine with you, C.P.

Just hold on a minute now,

I'd like to hear from C.P.
on this. Mr. Ellis.

Well, I'm not in the habit of interviewing
for a job that I don't really want.

But you're asking,
so I'll tell you.

Everybody talkin' about nigras want
this, nigras need that.

This whole thing started 'cause
of what nigras are demanding.

What about white folks?
What about what we want?

You already got everything you want.
No, we don't.

Now the niggers in this town are trying
to take away everything we got left.

They don't want us to play
"Dixie" at our schools.

That's our song.

They're angry when we fly the
Confederate flag at ball games.

And why should one of our boys
have to play ball under that flag?

That flag is
our proud Southern history.

It might be your proud
Southern history, C.P.,

but it sure as hell
ain't ours.

[C.P.] All right.

Integrated schools have
"blacks only" assemblies,

"blacks only"
Martin Luther King this, that.

That ain't my history.

You wanna talk about schools?

Let's talk about schools,
Mr. Riddick.

My sons don't have it easy
in school.

Their teachers ain't even
teachin' them half the time.

And you want to throw them
together with a bunch of nigras?

It's only gonna get worse
for them.

You ask why?
I'm here to protect my boys.

So all the better
if she don't get in my way.

I'll sit with you,
Brother Ellis.


Howard, have you lost
your everlasting mind,

callin' that man
your brother?

[Bill] You're offering
to co-chair, Howard?

Uh, I am.

And that's an honest man
right there, Ann.

The only honest man
that's stood up today.

He hates me. [chuckles]
And he told me why.

But then he opened up
his heart about his sons.

Why is he agreeing with me?

- I don't know.
- [Howard] That means he's my brother.

[whispers] Did that nigger
just call me brother?


Y'all hear that?

I'll tell you what you are,

You one of them
"big niggers," ain't you?

You done went up north
and got your college degree,

your fancy cars,
and your fancy suits.

Meanwhile, we down here on
the ground gettin' dirty.

Now wait a minute, Ann.

The Black Solidarity Committee has
been working within this community...

Oh, shut up, Howard!
You're late to the fight!

And you have no idea what
real black folk go through.

You don't deserve a seat.
He don't deserve that chair, he don't.

Callin' that man his brother.

So are you saying you'll accept
now, Miss Atwater?

[shutter clicks]

['70s rock plays]

[song continues]

I'm going to continue to fight
for us white working men

even if I have to sit in a room with
that awful Ann Atwater to do it.

[cheering, applauding]

C.P. Ellis don't scare me.

We gonna beat school
segregation once and for all.

Well, she's livin'
in her own fantasy world.

Folks in this town
like things the way they are.

[singing "Happy Birthday"]

[song ends]


Good morning, Mr. Ellis.

Co-chair office is
just around the corner.

Thank you.

All I'm saying is
our children are way behind.

Almost a full year.

[woman] Well,
just havin' white teachers

isn't gonna help them
catch up.

[Ann] White teachers?

They already got
some white teachers.

It ain't that.
It's about the books.

Newer books don't account
for a whole year.

Newer ain't got
nothing to do with it.

Baby, what's your name?
In the red shirt. What's your name?

[Ann] Miles.

What year did you
just finish, Miles?

My junior year.

And what year
were your books for?

The textbooks were
for the tenth-graders, ma'am.


[murmuring, applauding]

Well, how's that gonna work?

How's what gonna work, C.P.?

You gonna put a bunch of black
kids who are a year behind...

with white kids who aren't.

How you gonna teach
that class?

You can't.
It just ain't possible.

So you go ahead
and get the right books,

but you can't teach
that class, no way. No way.


Okay. So tomorrow,

we'll break into
our smaller groups

and begin hammering out the
different resolution points.

But we meet back here
each night for wrap-up.

Also, you've noticed these, uh,
two tables up here on the stage.

Along with Mr. Ellis
and Miss Atwater,

ten more of you will be chosen to fill
these seats as part of our senate.

That senate will vote
on the resolutions

on the final night
of the charrette.

Unless there's anything else,

I think we could all use
some sleep.

Yes, Reverend?

Mr. Riddick,

it's been
quite a tense day.

It may be wise if we have some
positive note to end each session.

Something to lift our spirits.

I think that's a good idea,

What did you have in mind?

Well, I notice
we have a piano over here.

What if we all sing gospel
music at the end of each night?

- Okay.
- [man] Nigger music.

[crowd murmurs]
What did you say?

I believe he said
that's nigger music.

Gospel music don't have nothing
to do with black or white.

It's about God.
Praise God, but he... he's right.

Gospel music is absolutely
for black folk.

I'm a bit surprised that
the reverend would suggest

something so one-sided.

I'm a little disappointed.

[Bill] Okay.
I can appreciate that, C.P.

These people would like
gospel music.

So, uh, how would you like
to represent your people?

Well, I'd like to display our Klan
materials here at the charrette.

[spectators murmuring]

Klan materials?


It's not the same thing.
I know that.

We can't let him do it. That stuff's
full of hate. That's all it is.

He gave on the gospel.
I don't give a damn what he gave on.

Well, he gave, so we give.

Bill Riddick, if that stuff shows up
here, it's gonna be a riot.

And you can bet your ass I'm gonna
be the one leading the charge.

Oh, you gonna get all
Roughhouse Annie on me now, huh?

Yeah, I heard tell about you.
All talkin' and no listenin'.

We're here trying to understand each
other for once and stop fighting.

I'll stop fightin' when there
ain't nothing left to fight for.

Then you gonna be goin' uphill
the rest of your life, Ann.

In the meantime,
I'm-a keep that man here talkin'

as long as I possibly can.

[Bill] C.P.


This, um,
display you want to bring.

We're willing to go along
with it.

But there'll be folks not wild
about the sight of it.

So, uh, you're gonna need
to provide some security,

someone to watch over it.

I'm not gonna be responsible for it.

This is my security.

That gun
don't belong here.

I like to have it close in case I
need it to do my talkin' for me.

This here does the talkin'
for me.

I have a Bible. Oh, you do?
Have you read it?

Course I've read it.

Even go to church on Sundays.
[Ann] Hmm.

Well, then,
you ought to know, C.P.

Know what?

Same God made you, made me.

That's everything,
Mr. Ellis.

Looks good, Ben. Real good.

Thank you, Mr. Ellis.

Divided according to race.

Uh, six black, six white.

The senate members will float in
and out of different working groups,

observing and participating.

On the final night
of the charrette,

you will vote
to either adopt or reject

the resolutions
presented to you.

So, we're the final word?

Final word, Howard.

Two-thirds majority
to pass each resolution.

Eight votes to pass?

Then we should be able to handpick
the other four white members.

Well, then, we might as well
go on home then.

that's not practical.

We need to be
as fair as possible.

I'm gonna have to side
with my friend here.

I mean,
we can surely all agree

that every Negro
in the building

is gonna vote yes
on school integration.

That's six automatic votes,
no matter what.

Same's not true
for every last white person.

There's a bunch of liberals
sittin' out there right now.

Look, there are four prominent
organizations represented

in this room, right here.

The Klan,
The White Citizens' Council,

Black Solidarity Committee,
and Operation Breakthrough.

You each get your votes.

You want fair?

We'll pick
eight regular members.

Regular. No black power people, no Klan.
They're excluded.


None of her people?
[Bill] No.

And none of y'all.


What do you think
you doing, huh?

Leave that alone.

Boys need to be reading this
instead of ripping it up.

The Klan is givin' you
a window to look through.

You need to read this stuff
and understand it.

That way,
you understand them.

Okay? You got the upper hand.
Got it?

Get on outta here, Charles.
Give me that.

Should tell your daddy.
You know better.


Kids don't make no sense...

"...professional experts from in
the community and from outside

will stand by
listening, learning."

[continues reading,

Ann? Ann?

Where are you going?
I'm going home.

I know you're upset, Ann.

You don't know nothing!

I told you
it was a damn fool idea

to let that man
bring that stuff in here.

Ain't no good
gonna come from it!

And I'll tell you
something else, Bill Riddick.

You an even bigger fool

if you think you gonna make
any change

with this here meeting.

Is that right?
That's right.

'Cause as long as
the C.P. Ellises of the world

keep gettin' their way,

ain't nothing gonna change.

Yeah, you talk about
Roughhouse Annie?

Keep Uncle Tommin'
that cracker

and you gonna see
Roughhouse Annie.

Go on back up north where you belong,
'cause you don't know nothing.

Marion Wilson.

Okay. The other bowl now.

[Garland] Sam Watford.

Is that Scooter Watford's boy?
[Horace] Yeah.

You won't have
a problem there.

[C.P.] You sure?
Pretty sure.

I remember he kept losin' jobs
during them boycotts.

Still pretty sore about it.

I don't like that mustache,
tell you what.

All right. Earl Weeks.


He's... He's with us.

[Garland] How do you know?

He been a deacon at my church
since I was a kid.

He don't like nobody.

- That's a good man.
- Two for two.

Okay, we gonna have an issue
with this gal Maddy Mays.

The blonde over by the window.

Yeah, she's a nurse.

Yeah, over at Durham Clinic.

Real "people person." I think
that's one to worry about.

Last is Lee Trombley.

Trombley Hardware.

Off of Route Nine.

What do we know?

I don't know 'bout him, C.P.

Might be a problem there.

He took over
after his daddy passed.

Family man, two kids, I think.

[C.P.] And?

[Horace] Everybody that
works for him is a nigger.

Every one.

And they all thick as thieves.

[taps notebook]

All right, I guess it's time we
get acquainted with Lee Trombley.

Can I help you, sir?

Uh... Lee around?

No, sir. He's not here right now.
But I'm the manager.

Something I can help you with?

Uh, no. Um...

I'll come back another time.

[door opens]

- [thunder rumbles]
- [rain pattering]


Any thoughts, uh, insights?

You don't have to
raise your hand, Maddy.

I think it's nice to see
people talking for once.

That ain't talkin'.
It's yellin'.

Well, okay. It's arguing.

But people are listening to one another.
They really are.

[Sam] They're arguing.
I've been listening to it for days,

and still no one's answered how
integration's gonna help my kids.

- It sure can't hurt 'em.
- It sure as hell can.

- I'd like to know how.
- Well, for one,

I don't want my daughter sitting
next to a Negro boy in class.

I don't want her
eatin' next to one,

and don't want her being
at a school dance with one.

So, you care
about your daughter?

And you don't want
to see her get hurt.

What's your point?

My point is that is
what we do as parents.

When they're little, we try to
keep them from touching the stove

so they don't burn.

We teach them to take small
bites so they don't choke.

We worry about
their first day at school,

the first time
they drive a car,

their very first job.

See, we want them to avoid
the pain that we experienced.

All right. All right.

We all gonna sit around,
hold hands, sing "Kumbaya"?

- We see what you're doing, Howard.
- And what is that, C.P.?

That there's no difference
between blacks and whites, right?

'Cause we all worry
about our kids.

We're all the same, right?

Actually, no, C.P. We're not.

See, I left some things out.

I left out
that black folks have

a whole different menu of pain
to worry about.

Our kids get spit on
for no reason.

Our kids have to move on the
sidewalk to let white folks pass,

or they get beat.

Our kids aren't allowed
to sit where they want,

play where they want,
go to school where they want.

See, this is the pain
they experience every day

that we, we can't...
can't spare them from.

And that is a...

It's a helpless feeling.

A more helpless feeling
than you could ever know.

I fell right into that one.

Shit. You see Trombley's face?

Did you get anywhere with Trombley
last night? He wasn't there.

They were right, though.
He got a black manager.

Well, where we gonna
get him, then?

Right now.
We gonna crowd him at lunch.


[Bill] Okay.
Everybody listen up.

We're going to be trying
something different today.

There are name cards at
each seat in this lunchroom.

This will be your seat
for the rest of the charrette.

You may not move
your name card.

And you guessed it,
the person sitting next to you

will not be
the same color as you.

- What?
- And...

And no discussion of issues
during this hour.

Talk about something else.

[no audible dialogue]

[Ann singing softly]

[Ann clears throat]

I just can't do it. Mm-mm.

Mm-mm! Mm-mm-mm.

These fish sticks is dry.

Well... Hmm.

If we can't change
anything else,

we can sure demand
better school lunches, huh?

We're not supposed to
talk about issues.

I guess you're right.


Howard was wrong in there,
weren't he?


Well, I mean, he weren't wrong
about what black kids go through.


He was wrong about you not knowing
what helpless is, weren't he?

What does that mean?

You got a boy out at Murdock,
don't you, C.P.?

- I don't wanna talk about that.
- I'm just trying...

Ann, don't talk about my son.

Don't ever talk about my son.

[guitar plays]
[man humming]

[man singing country folk]

We're willing to go
to summer school,

even nights, just to catch
up with the white students.

Good Lord never intended for
blacks to have equal rights.

[song continues]

[song ends]

Daddy! What's wrong?
What's wrong, sugar?

It's Larry.

[boy screaming]
What's goin' on?

- Who is this?
- [nurse] Alvin. He moved in Friday.

Hey, hey.
Shh, shh. Shh, shh, shh.

[screaming continues]

Hey, pumpkin.

[C.P.] Go! It's okay.
[nurse] It's okay.

[C.P.] No monster.
No monster, son. No monster.

I got your book.
I'm gonna read...

Shh, shh, shh.
Shh, shh, shh.

[girl] It's Vickie.

Read to him.

Come here, pumpkin.
I'll be right back.

- Vickie's gonna read to you.
- It's your sister, Vickie.

Get him out.

Hey, who's in charge here?
Can I help you, Mr. Ellis?

No. Is there someone else
I can talk to?

One moment.


[bell dinging]


[nurse] I'll be right there.
I need help.

No, sir. No, sir.
I need help.

My son needs help.
Step outside that door.

I need to get my son out of that room.
Yes, sir.

Step outside for a moment.

Now calm it down.
I need to get my son out of that room.

Your son is gonna be just fine.
He's scared.

He's not fine.
He needs to be moved.

Right away.
Or that other one needs to be moved.

My son's scared.
Look. Look.

It's important that our patients
stay in familiar surroundings.

'Cause if they're moved
too often, they get agitated...

A private room then.

Give Larry a private room,

We have regulations
here at Murdock.

I don't care
about your regulations.

Now you move him, or I will.
How's that? No, you will not.

Mr. Ellis!
Call security right now.

You calm yourself down.



How much...
How much is it again?

A private room is $75 more
per week.

Now do you wanna pay for that?

I got 16.

Mr. Ellis.
Listen to me.

Larry will get used to it,
all right?

You shoulda told me. No one told
me that boy would be in this room.

It was...
No one told me.

It was a last minute...

You shoulda told me.
[slaps counter]

[man speaking, indistinct]

[C.P.] You know,
I'm tryin' to tell you now.

His roommate was wailin'
and screamin' and...

But they wouldn't
let me move him.

I wanna take him home.

He's better off with us.

He don't belong there.

He ain't like them others.

Yes, Claiborne, he is.

I'm seeing him tomorrow.
I'm sure he's fine.

You okay?

Yeah, I'm just tired.

I'll see you at home.
I love you.

[people chattering]

[people singing gospel,

[singing continues]
[clapping hands to song]

[singing gospel]

[singing fades]

[woman on P.A., indistinct]

Can I help you?

You can't,
but Bernadette can.

One moment.
Thank you.

Miss Atwater!

Oh, my gosh. Oh, my gosh.
How have you been?

Oh, baby, I've been good.
How about yourself?

I'm fine. I'm just fine.

what can I help you with?

Where's that Larry Ellis boy?

[Alvin murmuring]


Yes, Miss Atwater?
I'm gonna need a favor.

But that's not fair.
I know it's not fair, honey.

But I went back and looked.
Not even half of them are done yet.

But she never does
any of her charts.

She always expects us
to do them for her.

You and I have to go over all her
work, or it's gonna be on us.

[Alvin humming]



Where's Larry? Where's my son?

He's not in his room.
What happened?

Nothing happened, Miss Ellis.

He was moved.

[radio: woman singing ballad]

It's so nice.

Hey, baby.

It's your mama.

Hey, baby, it's your mama.

- Hi.
- Hi.

Let's put on some music.

[volume increases]

[song fades]


No, no, it's good. It's...

It's just, uh...

All right,
I'll see you at home.

I want to talk to you.

Look. What you, uh...

[sighs] I didn't... I...

I didn't ask for your help.

I can take care of
my own family, okay?


It's just what I do, C.P.

Well, whatever is you do,
don't do it for me.

I didn't do it for you.


- Strike one!
- Yeah, Chester, bring the heat!

All right, shut your hole.
That ain't helping.

Don't pay him no mind, boy.
He ain't goin' nowhere with two outs.

They'll hold 'em.
Be all right.

[bottle opens]

I'll be right back.

[bat hits ball]

Your boy playing today?

Mr. Ellis.

Uh, no. My nephew.

You can call me C.P.
You want a beer?

Oh. Thanks.

[umpire] Strike!

So, how do you think
it's going? The charrette.


It's interesting.

It's nice to hear
both sides, you know.

Yeah. Yeah.

We got some decisions to make.

Strike three! You're out!

[scattered cheering]

Say, that nigger fella?
The one that comes, uh...

He runs your hardware store?

Yeah. 'Bout two years now.

His name's Emmett.

And you trust him to...
to run things?

Sorry, I-I'm just curious.

I don't think I could trust one
of them to run my filling station.

Other than my wife,
he's the only person I trust.

How's that?

Well, he and I, we...

We were in Vietnam together.

Oh. You were in Vietnam?

Two tours. Got out in '68.


No. No, I...



Well, look, Mr. Ellis,
I know who you are.

And I know
what you want from me.

But I just don't...
No, no, Lee.

Any man who served bravely
in this country's military

doesn't need to hear
anything more from me.

You vote how you want to.

I'll respect it.

Mr. Ellis?

Emmett served
this country, too.

And he was a lot braver
than me.

[bat hits ball]

[scattered cheering]

All right, folks.
For our last day,

I thought we'd go
on a little field trip.

Where to?
You gotta vote Monday night.

I think it's important
we get a firsthand look

at what we've been talkin'
about the past few weeks.

[Bill] I know it's been a long
day, but this is the last one.

Please be careful.
Watch your step.

[Ann] Ain't no better over here.
It's a mess.

They gotta keep the doors open
because of the smell.

I imagine so.
It helps.

[children chattering]

Lot of kids
for summer school.

That ain't summer school, C.P.

They still tryin' to finish up
from last year.

Yes, because of the split
shifts after the fire,

the students
were really only getting

about three hours
of schooling per day.

So, they're still catching up.

Hey, how you doin'?
Did you get them shoes I sent you?

Mama! [chuckles]

Oh, this your girl?


this here is, uh, Mr. Ellis.


Well, I better get to class.



She looked at me like I was
some kind of monster.

What'd you expect?

I don't know.
I'm trying to do right by us.

Make it all better.

And how's this gonna
make it all better?

Hell, I'm... [scoffs]

They wanted to integrate restaurants.
So we did.

Then came buses and bathrooms
and playgrounds.

Look, I'm over there right now

supporting more funding
to make their schools better.

If they have nicer schools, they'll...
[kicks cabinet]

...stop pushin'
to integrate ours.

The one thing we have left.

Then maybe
we'll all stop fighting.

Then what you gonna do?


When everybody stops fighting,
who you gonna fight?

[doorbell rings]

[Ann] Okay. Coming.

Can I help you?

Hi, Ann. Um...

I'm Mary Ellis.
Claiborne's wife.


I'm sorry
for just dropping by. I, um...

I wanted to thank you for, um,
what you did

for our family,
for our son Larry.

Please, come in.

Go on in.

Hope you like sweet tea.
I do.

So Larry is doing better, huh?

He is.

You know,
sometimes it's hard to...

keep him calm.

Well, has, uh...
has Larry always been like that?


You know, when he was little,
it just...

He started not to be able
to do things.


Has C.P. always been
like that?

[Mary] Oh.
[both laugh]


More or less.

You know, he used to be
a really good baseball player.

Showed a lot of promise.

Colleges came
and looked at him

right over here
at Liberty Park.

Where we met, actually.

Came up to me,
he's so nervous.

Couldn't even talk.
So handsome.



C.P. handsome?

He was.



Thank you again.

You're welcome.


Claiborne is, uh...

He's doing
the best he can.


Good-bye, Miss Ellis.


Gimme a minute with C.P.,
would you?

Sure thing, Floyd.

[gunfire continues]

Hey. What do you say, Floyd?

You got one of those?

See the paper?

Nothin' I could do about that.
All part of this charrette business.

It don't look right.

It don't matter
what it looks like, Floyd.

Matters what it is.

Oh, yeah.

Your wife making friends
with Ann Atwater what it is?


Couple of the boys
saw 'em today.

How am I supposed to
explain that?

She did something for Larry
is all.

Mary was just
probably thanking her.

Niggers is doing you
favors now, C.P.?

Stop with the bullshit, Floyd.

Mary's always gone
her own way.

Has nothin' to do with how
I do my business. Never has.

Now you got something to say?
Say it.

Look around you, C.P.

All these guys,
they look up to you.

They need you.

I don't know what you're talking about.
I'm here, ain't I?

- Are you?
- I'm doin' everything I can.

[man vocalizing]

[folk-pop plays]

[man singing]

Hey. Is Mr. Trombley in?

Yes, sir. He's...
Can I help you?

Mr. Trombley.

We're from Durham Fire and
Life Safety Department. Uh...

We've got a random
inspection order here.

On a Sunday?

We do 'em when they come in.

We'll need access
to your breaker panels

and your hazardous materials
storage area.

Yeah, all right. Sure.
Uh, come on back. Right this way.

So, Mr. Trombley, it, uh,

seems your
circuit breaker panels

are not up to code.

You need at least 30-inch
clearance on both sides,

and you've got
a little under two feet.

Oh... [stammers] They've been like
that for 20 years, since I was a kid.

Nevertheless, that needs to be
rectified before you can, uh, reopen.

Reopen? Yeah. Gotta shut you down...

What? Oh, no. I...
See, I can't shut down.

I got...
I got a business here... Th...

What are they supposed to do?

I'm gonna need them boys
outta here... now.

Like I said...

if you fix things...

you'll be open again
in no time.

You have a nice day,
Mr. Trombley.

My, my, my.

Aren't you
a pretty little thing?

Who are you?

What do you want?

Take it easy, Maddy.
We're just, uh,

[chuckles] friends.

Please don't.

Shh. It's okay.

None of these pictures
have niggers in 'em.

We heard you might be
a friend of niggers.

But I don't see none
on this wall.

Just to be sure though,
we're gonna need to hear you say it.

Say it?


Say it.

That you ain't
a friend of niggers.

I'm... not
a friend of niggers.


I'm not a friend
of niggers.


Well, then.

We must've got
some bad information.

Guess there was no need
for the visit after all.

Thanks for the beer, Maddy.

woman singing country]

Beer, C.P.?

Yeah. Thanks, Doreen.

[bottle opens]

[Wiley laughing]


Hey, C.P.!

What do you say, boys?

Come on, sit down.

Nah. Been a long week.

Just gonna have one beer
and go.

Oh, come on, C.P.
We celebratin'.

Yeah. What are you
celebratin', Wiley?

We celebrating
you gettin' your votes, C.P.

Well, a little early for that,
don't you think?

But have fun.

What do you know about votes,


[people chattering]

[door opens]
You shut him down?

What are you doin' here, C.P.?
[door closes]

You shut him down.
What are you talking about?

Lee Trombley.
Is that what this is about?

You didn't have to do that, Carvie.
You didn't have to do that.

This not a good time to show up, C.P.
I got donors in there.

You haven't answered
my question.

We're just trying
to give you a leg up is all.

Call it insurance, whatever you want.
You got a big vote tomorrow.

That man served his country,

Two tours in Vietnam.
He's a working man with a family.

"Protect the white working man."

Isn't that what you always said,
what we always talked about?

C.P., sometimes there are
necessary evils.

Necessary evils
for the greater good.

And it's my job to make
those kind of decisions.

You're just gonna
have to trust me on this.

You should get
back to your party.

C.P.? Are we good?

Hey, Floyd called.
Said they want you at Klavern.


Something about a meeting
at 8:30 or something.

What? You didn't know?

Oh. You all right?

You look tired.

Yeah, I'm all right.

You all right?
[chuckles] Yeah, I'm all right.

[crowd chattering]

[chattering stops]

[whispers, indistinct]
He's here.

Come on up, C.P.


What's goin' on?

Distinguished Klansmen,

every now and again,
extraordinary things occur within our walls

that need to be addressed.

As your state leader,
it is my job to address them.

In our fight
against communism,

against integration,
against mongrelism...

we turn to those among us

who can lead us into
a pure, white future.

We have one such man
here in North Carolina.

Your Exhalted Cyclops,
C.P. Ellis.

[applause, cheering]

So, in recognition
of this man's tireless effort,

for his forethought and vision

in establishing the UKA's
first Youth Corps...

I guess I'll just read this.

It says,
"The United Klans of America

hereby bestow upon
Mr. Claiborne Paul Ellis

the honor of being named

North Carolina's 'Exhalted'
Cyclops of the Year, 1971."


What do you mean, you're not the right
person? Baby, the vote is tonight.

Yeah, but there's gotta be somebody else.
There's nobody else, Maddy.

You heard everything,
you've seen everything.

No one else can take
your seat.

What brought this on, Maddy?

What happened?

- Nothing. I just...
- [footsteps approach]

It's nothing. Um... It's fine.
If you'll just excuse me.

[Ann] Mm-hmm.

Maddy Mays don't want to vote.

Just like that, out of the blue.
[snaps fingers]

What'd you do to that girl?
Now, Ann.

I saw the way she looked...
Don't you "Now, Ann" me.

You coward.

I ain't no coward.
Yeah, you a coward.

Couldn't do it in here.
Too many people with they own thoughts.

You couldn't win in here,
so you went and you fixed it out there.

I don't have to listen to this.
You gonna listen today.

What you so afraid of, C.P.?

I ain't afraid of nothing.
Yeah, you is. You're afraid.

You afraid
you gonna lose control.

You afraid you gonna lose
what you ain't even got, C.P.!

You're poor.
Just like the rest of us.

You ain't got nothing
'cept problems.

Talkin' 'bout you...
you in control.

You ain't no more in control
than the man in the moon.

You're a bigger coward
than I thought you was.

[footsteps depart]

[male reporter]
The five o'clock news hour.

With the highly anticipated charrette
vote just a few hours away now,

we caught up
with WDNC's Ken Meadows,

who was with some students

gathered outside the
charrette site earlier today.

[Meadows] Do you think
it's gonna be okay?

Well, it might be all right.

[child 2]
I think the same thing too.

[child 3] Uh-uh. I don't.
[Meadows] Why not?

I don't. Because, see,
our first day that I went out there

where we had to scramble,
you know.

But it was okay.

[girl] It doesn't matter what school
you go to, it's gonna be the same.

You get your education
just the same.

I'm fixin' to enroll now,
and it'll be my school.

[Meadows] Are you concerned for
your daughter, or is she concerned?

Well, I'm concerned for her,

and I think she's concerned
for her education.

[Meadows] Laverne,
I just talked to your mother.

She said you're a little concerned.
Are you?

[Laverne] I'm very much concerned.

Oh, because I wanna...
I wanna be very sure about this year,

and I want to really know
what they're doing, and...

I think that it will work out if
everybody cooperates together.

Because, I mean, this is not
the, probably, first time...

[continues, indistinct]

[breath quavers]

[loud chattering]

- You did great work, Ann.
- No.

The one thing those people came here
for, we didn't get it for 'em.

Not true.
Some of them will be delighted.


You know, I never really
thought you was an Uncle Tom.

Yes, you did.

[both chuckling]

"Roughhouse Annie," huh?

Don't you forget it.

Welcome, welcome.


Well, what a journey
it's been, folks.

You've all shown such
dedication these past two weeks.

And regardless of the outcome,
you should be proud.

The resolution you've put
before this senate is clear,

it is thoughtful,
and above all, it is brave.

This resolution is
in three parts.

After I read out each one,

I will call the senate members
up to cast their votes.

Each part requires
a two-thirds majority to pass.

That's eight votes.

Part one.

Two students,
one black, one white,

to be appointed every year
to the Durham school board.

I vote yes.

Mr. Watford.

I'm a no.

I vote yes.

[Bill] Part one passes
with eight votes.

Part two. This calls that summer classes
be included in the school board budget

so the black students become
level with their white peers.

Mr. Weeks.

I vote no.
[scattered applause]

Mr. Cox.

[Cox] I vote yes.

I vote yes.

[Bill] Part two passes
with eight votes.


Part three.

Public school integration.

In summary,

this calls for full
and immediate integration

starting in the fall semester
of this school year.

The resolution defines full
integration by setting a race ratio

of no less than 25 percent
of any race at each school.

And further, that busing be
made available to students

to aid in the implementation
of this ratio.

We'll start the vote
on this side with Miss Wilson.

[people whispering]

I vote yes.

Mr. Watford?

I vote no.


Mr. Mose.

I vote yes.


Mr. Weeks.

I vote "hell no."

[cheering, applause]

Mr. Cox?

I vote "hell yes."

[cheering, applause]

Mr. Trombley.

Thank you, Mr. Riddick.

I believe in school
integration, and I vote yes.


It's not gonna matter.

[Bill] Reverend.

With the good Lord as my
guide, I proudly vote yes.

Miss Mays.

Although I think it should be
considered in the future, I...

I don't believe right now
is the time for integration.

Respectfully, I vote no.


[applause quiets]

Mr. Clement.

I am honored to have had the
chance to get to know most of you

these past few weeks,

to work on these vital issues.

And while I fear
that my vote will be in vain,

I'm still gonna vote.

And I vote yes
on school integration.

Mr. Keith.


Miss Atwater.



Looks like
we finally shut her up.

Mr. Ellis.

All right.

All right.

All right.

Thank you.

Thank you.



- Uh...
- [applause quiets]

I guess I'd first echo
what Mr. Clement said.

It was good to get to know
some of you, and I...

I know many of you will be
disappointed with our outcome here.

I, uh...

You know, before I go on...
[clears throat]

...I'd like to show you all

This is my Klan membership card.
[man] All right.

[scattered laughter]

I was given this card
12 years ago.

It's been in my wallet
ever since.

In fact, I cried
when they gave me this card.

And I grew up in a house where
I was taught men don't cry.

But I cried anyway.

I cried because it was the first
time in my life I didn't feel alone.

Sure, I was married
with a family.

That's not the kind of alone
I'm talking about.

As a man, you're expected
to take care of that family.

And I was havin' a hard time
doin' that.

We were struggling.

There I was.
I was a part of something now.

Something much,
much bigger than me.

And then when they made me
president, boy, I was over the moon.

Poor old C.P. Ellis
president of something.

Whoa. [chuckles]

And it's a real brotherhood.
It is.

In the Klan,
you look out for one another.

Nobody is left behind.
Everybody does for everybody else.

In fact, it says it right
here on this card...

It says
"Non silba, sed anthar."

Which means "Not for
oneself, but for others."

That's our motto.

But see, now I got a problem.

There's a problem...

'cause there's a lot of that going
around right here in this room.

People doin' for others.

Last two weeks have been
full of people just do...

doing for others.

And they're not just white people.
There's a...

There's a lot of black folk
doing for others too.

But I'm the president
of the Klan.

I'm supposed to hate
black folk.

I teach people
to hate black folk.

They're supposed to be
inferior to us.

Now, if I don't believe that,

then I have no business being
president of the Klan.

Well, I don't believe it.

So my problem is...

I don't have no need
for this anymore.

Mr. Riddick, I vote yes.



[no audible dialogue]

I just don't believe it.

[Ann] C.P.?


[phone rings]



[Jeb] Where's the key?

Where's the key?

Call the fire department!

Come on.
[both straining]

[woman] Thank you.

Next on the agenda is delivery
of the charrette resolution.

The council recognizes
Miss Atwater.

[phone rings]


Yeah. Hello?

[line disconnects, dial tone]

Okay, Mr. Ellis.

How many?

Well, you lost
about 650 gallons.

You're lucky
the thing didn't explode.

Yeah, okay.

You want to replace the loss?
I can have a truck here tomorrow.

No. Let's see how
the rest of the month goes.

All right.

What's this?
Would you sign both pages?

Thank you, Mr. Ellis.

Change your mind,
give us a call.

Mr. Ellis.

If you need to let me go,
it's okay.

You know,
until things pick up again.

I appreciate that, Jeb.
But we're not there yet, okay?

So for now, go ahead,
take your lunch break.

Okay, Mr. Ellis.

All right.

[vehicle approaches]
[bell dings]

I hope you didn't come here to
ask me to co-chair somethin' else.

Nah. I just came
to say good-bye is all.

Back to Raleigh, huh?
Back to Raleigh.

What trouble you been causin'?

Just organizing, you know me.

It's what you do, right?
It's just what I do.

I sure wish
you coulda been there

when we handed in
our resolution. Mmm.

Old Carvie Oldham
didn't even show up.


Wish I'd seen that.

How are you doin', C.P.?

Oh, had a little trouble here.

Just trying to
put it back together.

Yeah, we heard.

I'm so sorry, C.P.

It's okay.
Although not sure it matters much.

Nobody stoppin' to buy gas
from me these days.

[horns honking in distance]

Well... Maybe things
will pick up for you.

What you smilin' at?

[honking continues]

[honking continues]

That's just what I do, C.P.

You know that.
That's just what I do.

[bell dings]
Hey, Jeb. We got customers.

Gas? [chuckles]

[Jeb] All right, sir.

[C.P.] You want gas?

[Jeb] Yeah, no problem.
[C.P.] All right.

[soul song plays]

[man singing]

She can upset the world with
her mouth if she wants to.

But everywhere I go,
every time I pick up a newspaper,

Ann Atwater's been before the
council, the county commission,

or she was at some
shopping center boycotting,

or she was downtown
at Woolworths.

And he was woofin'
and goin' on,

and the place was packed
with Klansmen.

This particular night, C.P.
was up raging and ranting.

That's when
I wanted to cut his head off.

And after that first meeting,

I actually went home saying,
this is crazy.

This is absolutely crazy.
I don't think I wanna do this.

I mean, I can make a living
easier than this.

[song continues]

The story was picked up
in The Washington Post.

"Black man calls Klansman

And of course, my father, when he read
the story in The Washington Post...

he thought I had lost my mind.

In becoming my friend,
C.P. has lost a lot.

Look, you do not make those changes
without having to pay for 'em.

I know damn well, you know.

You have to pay for it

We bonded,
and we are still bonding.

Until I get mad with him
at times.

But we've made it through these
years, together 30 years,

and we're still friends.

[song continues]

'Cause there are C.P. Ellises and Ann
Atwaters in almost every community.

They just need
to be brought together

and experience what we experienced
in Durham with that charrette.

[no audible dialogue]

[song fades]

Subtitles by explosiveskull