Drama based on the acclaimed autobiographical one-man show by Ruben Santiago-Hudson. The movie looks at the ties that bind an African-American community in the period just before desegregation. The drama takes place primarily as a flashback to Freddie Cobbs' (Santiago-Hudson) childhood, starting with his birth in the upstate NY town of Lackawanna during a raucous Friday-night fish fry hosted by Rachel 'Nanny' Crosby (S. Epatha Merkerson). As a boy in the 1950s and 60s, with his parents unable to take care of him, Ruben Jr. is essentially adopted by Nanny, proprietor of a rooming house and mentor to countless down-on-their luck blacks who moved there from Nanny's hometown in Virginia. Nanny's place is not just walls and a roof, but a home where misfits and drifters can escape their personal hells to find a fresh start and a family. Against this background, Jr. receives an education in life from a diverse and colorful group of boarders. However, his biggest bond will always be with Nanny, in a relationship that nobody, not even a pair of zealous social workers, can tear asunder.