Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Our America is the story of LeAlan Jones and Lloyd Newman two inner-city Chicago teenagers who eloquently distilled their lives on the Mean Streets into an award-winning Public Radio documentary (and later, a book) titled Our America: Life and Death on the South Side of Chicago. When a local NPR broadcaster conducts a search for "two young, intelligent African Americans to be on the radio", Jones (played by Roderick Pannell) and Newman (Brandon Hammond) smooth-talk their way into the offices of radio producer David Isay (Josh Charles), and as a result both young men are hired as reporters. For the next week, LeAlan and Lloyd amble through the Projects, tape recorders in hand, the better to assemble a "sound portrait" of their 'hood. But with the resultant success and fame, Jones and Newman must suffer the admonitions and threats of their neighbors, who feel that the two have sold out to "Whitey" and are exploiting their own people. Things come to a startling climax when, in the course of their investigative reporting, LeAlan and Lloyd put their lives on the line to tell the whole story of a 4-year-old boy who was tossed from a 14th story window to his death by a rampaging gang. Our America made its Showtime cable network debut on July 28, 2002.
housing-project, inner-city, racial-tension, racism, radio, tape [recording], teenagers