Words by Heart is set in a northern farming town in 1910. The town's only black family, recently arrived from the south, is treated with barely concealed contempt by the white farmers--and with outright hostility when the family's daughter (Fran Robinson) wins a Bible-verse contest. The only white resident to buck the prejudice is a feisty, self-made wealthy woman (Charlotte Rae) who hires the little girl and her father (Robert Hooks) to work on her farm. The old lady's disgruntled white ex-handyman decides to organize his fellow bigots into an all-out assault on the African-American "outsiders." Alfred Woodard costars as the sensible, even-tempered black counterpart to the fair-minded white widow. Words by Heart was first telecast in February of 1985 as an episode of the PBS series Wonderworks; it was run in two parts in some markets, and as a 2-hour special in others.
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