CAST OF CHARACTERS

RICKY TURNER

Ricky, 20, born to a black father and white mother, feels like an outsider in his own community. He yearns for a stable home and to rise above the chaos all around him. Despite the insults and threats of violence,, Ricky’s faith and idealism can’t be shaken. He holds tightly to his vision for a better future – for himself and for his impoverished neighborhood.

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ALICE TURNER

Alice, 55, is the matriarch of the Turner family. Since losing her eldest son, Malcolm, in the early days of the Vietnam War, she has looked out for her other son, Cassius, daughter-in-law, Claire and two grandsons, Ricky and Scott. Alice is a blend of contradictions: a churchgoing, Bible-quoting woman who was once a hoochie-coochie dancer and blues singer. She is always ready with a parable or a sassy rejoinder. Alice adores Ricky and serves as his mentor and conscience.

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CASSIUS TURNER

Cassius, 36, is Ricky’s uncle. Cassius has charm to spare, but that charm can turn on a dime and becomes sinister. He operates a local drug and prostitution ring, making him both respected and feared. He wants to bring Ricky into his racket, but his nephew refuses to compromise his values, infuriating Cassius.

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CLAIRE TURNER

Claire, 36, is Ricky’s mother. This fragile white woman crossed color barriers for love by marrying Malcolm Turner, a black man. This made her a pariah with her own family and an outsider in her own Harlem neighborhood. With the death of her husband in Vietnam, Claire caves in to depression and drug addiction.

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SCOTT TURNER

Scott, 18, lives in the shadow of his father Cassius, the neighborhood drug dealer and pimp. He craves his father’s approval, but never receives it – even though he is in charge of his own small gang. When Cassius considers recruiting Ricky into his racket as heir apparent, Scott develops a hatred for his cousin.

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MARIETTA JOHNSON

Marietta, 17, is the serious-minded one of the three neighborhood girls who help Ricky at the food bank. She has had a not-so-secret crush on Ricky for years. When Penelope enters the scene, Marietta’s jealousy prompts her to commit a treacherous act with tragic results.

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JACKIE

Jackie, 17, is the street-smart leader of the three neighborhood girls who help Ricky at the food bank. A straight shooter with a foul mouth, Jackie has an eye for bad boys. When times get tough, however, Jackie drops her bad-ass attitude and becomes the voice of reason.

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ADELE

Adele, 17, is the scatter-brained one of the three neighborhood girls who help Ricky at the food bank. Her ditziness, therefore, makes her occasional insightfulness a pleasant surprise.

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PENELOPE HIGHTOWER

Penelope, 21, a white college student who was raised in wealthy suburbia and has embraced the civil rights and anti-war movements to the horror of her conservative parents. Her liberal crusades prompt suspicion from the black community in Harlem, where she is trying to attract allies. In Ricky, she finds someone who can help her gain credibility and access – but the deepening emotional bonds between them wind up testing their ideals.

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MILO

Milo, 24, is a political activist and an unbridled hedonist. He initially joins the anti-war movement for the sex and drugs but gets caught up in the battle for social justice, emerging as an energetic activist and a lovable rascal.

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REVEREND DUKES AND ENSEMBLE

Harlem residents, ages 55 to 75. They carry on to survive despite the squalor and poverty that mark their once-elegant surroundings. These folks are not above petty prejudices and gossip, but they bond in times of strife or when they reminisce about the good old days.

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MARCUS AND LOUIS
SCOTT’S GANG MEMBERS

Marcus and Louis, both 18, follow Scott. Privately, they scheme to usurp his authority.

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CHERYL, RISA AND LORRAINE
ANTI-WAR ACTIVISTS

Cheryl, Risa and Lorraine, ages 20, 21 and 23, are white college students who are idealistic and liberal foot soldiers. They are content to follow Penelope’s lead in the peace movement.


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