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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Esther James sues Adam Clayton Powell Jr. for slander.
Striking back at the Italians, Bumpy exploits Chin's dark past. Mayme and Elise put aside their differences and Bumpy sees his wife and children reunited before his war explodes.
Chin and Bonnano are at war in Harlem. Mayme asks Bumpy to create a will where Bumpy finds out he and Mayme never formally adopted Margaret. Malcolm X and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. go to D.C. for the March on Washington.
Due to slum conditions in Harlem, Adam Clayton Powell Jr. leads a rent strike and investigates the owners of the buildings. Ernie Nunzi searches for the hooker who helped set up Zambrano. Bumpy and Mayme experience tension in their marriage.
Bumpy blackmails the mob in an effort to secure the safety of himself and his family. President John F. Kennedy is assassinated. Teddy performs at the Apollo Theater in Harlem.