The Learning Tree

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The Learning Tree is a 1969 drama film which tells the story of a young African American growing up in rural Kansas during the late 1920s and early 1930s, when racial discrimination was a social norm, legally sanctioned in parts of the United States. Written and directed by Gordon Parks, the film is based upon his 1964 semi-autobiographical novel of the same name. It is the first Hollywood studio film to be directed by an African American.[1]

In 1989, the film was added to the National Film Registry.


Plot summary

Newt Winger (Kyle Johnson) is an African American teenager living in rural Kansas in the late 1920s and early 1930s. He generally confronts the prejudices of the era with pride and an even temper, unlike his hot-headed friend Marcus Savage (Alex Clarke). As circumstances slowly pull Newt and Marcus further apart, Newt witnesses a murder — one committed by Marcus' father Booker (Richard Ward).

When Newt's decision to come forward leads to Booker's death, Marcus confronts him with a gun — resulting in a vicious fight. Newt wins the fight but spares Marcus' life, only to watch helplessly as he is shot and killed by a racist sheriff (Dana Elcar).



External links

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