The Least Among You

Synopsis: Inspired by a true story about a black college graduate forced to serve probation after the 1965 Watts riots at an all-white seminary that wants black followers not leaders. Encouraged by the seminary president, Alan Beckett, to break the color line while Prof. Kate Allison, the former missionary, remains skeptical and aloof, Richard Kelly nears the breaking point when he meets Samuel, an elderly ex-alcoholic janitor who lives in the basement of his dormitory. As Samuel guides Richard through the trials of racism and the personal life haunts him, he undergoes a transformation that forces him to choose between his dreams and his destiny.
Genre: Biography, Drama
Director(s): Mark Young
Production: Lionsgate Films
  2 nominations.
98 min

College boy thought

he'd have him a color TV.

-Hey, y'all, look-a here.

-I didn't do anything.

Suit on the outside

and a Negro on the inside.

I didn't do anything.

You did something.

That's not me!

Not you?

Then who are you, Mr. Richard Kelly?

-I would like to propose a toast.

-Just hold on a second.

I sent in an application

to the Wesbury Theological College

here in town.

Honey, they've offered you

a full scholarship with room and board.

-You did what?

-So, you want to be a preacher?

-No. No, no.

-Now look here.

You can go a long ways with this.

Social worker, professor.

-Pastor, of course.

-Mama, you see this?

ICC. International Computing Corporation.

I beat out 100 guys for this position.

-If you take this job...

-If? Mama, this is my dream.

No more living like we do.

I start this job on Monday.

That was a silly thing to do.

Hey, Richard,

I've been looking all over for you, man.

-What's the drama?

-Some pigs just beat up a brother

-and his mother for no reason.


There's a protest at Avalon and Imperial.

-Come on.

-No, really, don't go.

-Good. I'm out of here.



-I got you a plea bargain deal.

Deferred adjudication.

Look, you gotta take that

seminary scholarship.

You serve nine months

of a probated sentence.

All right? You complete two semesters.

It's wiped off.

No, man, we talked about me

doing probation while I'm working.

As in, at my new job, in my new office,

with my new salary.

Yeah, 30 people are dead, 4000 arrested,

and you put a cop in the hospital.

This is a darn good deal.

I told you, I was trying to stop the violence.

I'll testify in front of a jury.

Yeah, that's what you'll say.

And I got 4000 other brothers

who are going to say the same thing.

Take the deal, Richard.

You do not wanna be another black man

in one of their prisons.

Take the deal, Richard.

You waiting for a tip?

I got one for you.

Try Beverly Hills next time.

You can just leave that bag inside.

The owner will be back

to pick it up later, all right?

-This is mine. This is mine.


Do you know where

I can go get a room assignment?

-Yeah, you want administration.


Don't hurt yourself.



Everybody gone for lunch?

Yes, but they'll be back real soon.

So, if you could come back later...

-Richard Kelly.

-You know my name?

Yes, well, Dr. Beckett had me pull your file.

He's the president, you know.

And I think he wants to see you.

Come with me.

-I much prefer the larger theater.


And then the convention center

is slightly smaller, but I think it works.

Looks fantastic.

Dr. Beckett,

this is the student you mentioned.

Yes, indeed.

A pleasure to meet you, Mr. Kelly.

Alan Beckett.

Pleasure to meet you, sir.

I was just showing Mr. Tremaine out.

Tremaine investment Group.

I read about you in Fortune magazine.

Very nice to meet you, sir. Richard Kelly.

Seminary on a hill. Long way from Watts.

So was UCLA, sir.

-Good day, Alan.

-Good day.

Busy man. Have a seat.

-I am so glad that you're here, Mr. Kelly.

-Thank you, sir.

It may interest you to know

that I personally awarded your scholarship.


-The committee was hesitant.

But that essay that you submitted

with your application

was brief, but passionate.

I was anxious to get here, probably.

The big picture is

that Wesbury must change with the times.

And that's why you're here, Richard,

to pave the way for more Negro students,

to be their champion.

You mean I'm the first black student

at this school?

But the perfect choice.

An honors graduate, a leader on campus.

I didn't come here

expecting to be anyone's champion.

You came here to be a pastor.

-Yes, that's right.

-Martin Luther King started as a pastor.

You think he ever expected

to turn a nation on its head?

-Probably not.

-So, are you up for the job?

What am I supposed to do?

Make A's. Graduate work here is tough.

Set an example.

-I can do that.


More importantly,

because we're a Christian seminary,

this reform must start on a ground level,

not by me forcing it down people's throats.

You help me with this, Richard,

and I will help you in every way possible.



I marched in Mississippi too,

so I know what lies ahead of us.

I will be your silent advocate

behind the scenes.

Thank you.

That was my son.

A boy. Strong-minded.

Anyway, welcome.

Hey, I'm Fred. You must be Richard.

-How'd you know?

-That administrative girl asked.

She sort of described you.

I said, "Shoot, I don't care,

as long as nobody steals nothing."

Fred Leak. Dallas, Texas.

-Fred Leak?

-Yeah, yeah, I know.

Peter Leak, Take a Leak. Heard it all.

So you must be first semester too, huh?

Put all the rookies on the same floor.

You know, goes with camaraderie and all.

Let me help you with that.

Hey, that girl didn't ask me

if I minded rooming with a Texas cracker.

Maybe you ought to call her.

I'm just joking.

-Camaraderie and all.


In these turbuIent times,

the Church is desperate for Ieaders.

Scripture says,

"My peopIe perish for Iack of vision. "

You may be wondering,

"Do I have that vision?

"Am I truly called to this ministry?"

I can't answer this.

But what I can do

is create an optimal environment

to inspire your hearts and your minds.

To this end, I am pleased to announce

the beginning of construction

on our $10 million media complex,

which will be the most

technologically advanced learning center

of any seminary in the nation.

And we have

Mr. Stansfield G. Tremaine to thank.

Would you please stand, sir?

For the next several weeks, Mr. Tremaine

will be visiting some of our classes

in an effort

to get to know us more personally.

He too understands that our seminary

must turn out leaders

for these trying times.

Thank you, and God bless you all.

-Hey, there.

-How you doing?

-Samuel J. Benton.

-Richard Kelly. Nice to meet you.

-I'm sort of in a hurry.

-Don't let me hold you up.

Get on.

-You lose something?

-Finding it.

These folks are in such a rush

about getting new books,

just tossed the old ones out.

They're probably obsolete.

Ms. Kim over at the office,

she lets me know ahead of time,

kind of secret like.

You should see my collection

of obsolete books.

You read this stuff?

You should come visit sometime.

The missus would like that.

Thanks. Maybe when I get my head

above water.

These fellows around here

ain't used to a young brother like yourself.

You live around here?

Can you believe LBJ

lecturing the whole country?

"I will use every means at my disposal.

"The Negro man will win his right

to participate in his government."

-It's not a speech, it's a threat.

-There's never enough. Like Watts.

Watts wasn't just about looting

and burning and all that.

Watts happened

when people got sick of the brutality.

So they gave it back.

You know, just so I know,

why don't you use

that back shower from now on, okay?

You know, I think

I'm gonna stay in any shower I want.

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Mark Young

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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