John (Carl Lumbly) is a man of many talents, including one forbidden skill: He can read. When he teaches a young slave girl named Sarny to read and write, she learns an unforgettable lesson about the power of words and the true meaning of freedom. A wonderful movie about the power of literacy and the risk it took to educate slaves in the Ante-Bellum South before the heartbreak of the Civil War. Co-stars Beau Bridges. Charles Burnett directs.