Ida Mae Brandon Gladney
A free-spirited sharecropper’s wife who leaves Mississippi for the North after a family member is nearly beaten to death over the disappearance of a white man’s turkeys. She and her family end up in Chicago where she sees things she never imagined and she inspires all who meet her.
George Swanson Starling
A headstrong college student forced by circumstance to work the citrus groves of Florida, he marries impulsively and leads strikes for fairer wages in the groves. He is forced to leave under threat of lynching and heads to New York where both triumph and tragedy await him.
Robert Joseph Pershing Foster
An ambitious surgeon who journeys from Louisiana to California to escape the caste system of the South. He chafes because he can perform surgery for the United States Army but is not permitted to do a simple tonsillectomy in his hometown hospital. He struggles at first in the New World, but eventually rises to high society in black Los Angeles and becomes personal physician to the singer Ray Charles, but pays a price.