After returning from Alcatraz, Bumpy Johnson seeks to regain control of Harlem. With the streets controlled by the Italian mob, Bumpy must take on the Genovese crime family, led by Vincent "Chin" Gigante. In order to thwart the Italian's dope trade, Bumpy forms an alliance with Malcolm X.
Realizing a consistent source of heroin is vital to reclaim Harlem, Bumpy engages in a fevered search to find a dope supply independent of the Italians. Chin engages the services of crooked cops in a plot to arrest Bumpy and send him back to jail. Meanwhile, Mayme worries the effect Bumpy's rescue of his daughter Elise from the streets will have on their family.
Bumpy unexpectedly finds himself at Elise's side when her shoplifting arrest and subsequent abuse is the catalyst for a protest where conflicting interests cause tensions to rise. Malcolm X and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. have their own agendas for the protest. Meanwhile, Chin and the Italian mob want the protest to end because it’s happening at a building they own.
Cassius Clay battles local boxing hero Doug Jones in the ring. Mayme insists Bumpy back Jones, an advocate for her Harlem Youth organization, but Malcolm urges Bumpy to back Clay. Meanwhile, Chin engages in a turf war for Harlem with Bonnano and a buried secret fueling their feud is revealed.
In an effort to break Bumpy’s bank, Chin fixes a bet. As a result, Bumpy owes the winners more than he can cover. Police arrest Stella and Teddy for kissing. Elise looks toward the Nation of Islam in order to better herself.
To cover his debt, Bumpy is tasked with killing a witness testifying against the Genovese family. Elijah Muhammed tours Malcolm X’s mosque where he meets Elise and asks her to spy on Malcolm. Chin finds out Teddy is alive, leaving Ernie Nunzi to correct his mistake. Meanwhile, Esther James sues Adam Clayton Powell Jr. for slander.
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