The year is 1950...and America is divided between black and white. Schools, restaurants, trains, and buses...even drinking fountains cannot be shared by both races. Although slavery has been outlawed for nearly a century, segregation is legal. But white and Negro facilities are separate and unequal...and the tension had reached a breaking point for the blacks of Clarendon County, South Carolina. When their request for a single school bus is denied by white school officials, a bitter, violent and courageous battle for justice and equality begins...pitting black against white and friend against neighbor all across the country.
The dramatic evens leading from a small rural classroom to the Supreme Court decision that outlawed segregation are powerfully reenacted in this contemporary screen classic, beautifully scripted and superbly portrayed by some of Hollywood's finest actors. Sidney Poitier is Thurgood Marshall, the NAACP lawyer who took the struggle for equal rights to the highest court in the land. Burt Lancaster plays John W. Davis, the opposing counsel, and Richard Kiley is Chief Justice Earl Warren, who rallied the Court to landmark ruling. Together they capture the complex emotional dynamics of one of the country's most significant and inspiring achievements.