In Memphis, Tennessee, wealthy, fair-skinned Grandmother Agnes bears emotional scars from when she attempted to pass for white. Fifty years later, because of a past tenuous link, the backlash is heaped on struggling, dark-skinned MaMary. As a result, their granddaughters, Patricia and Idella, are caught in the middle of a vicious trap of "color consciousness" and economic prejudice. So desperate is Agnes to rid herself of her pain and secure her family’s bank account that she hatches a cruel scheme to destroy MaMary and crush Idella’s dreams. But hope shines when MaMary's gift to Idella, a knowledge of African beading, becomes their saving grace.

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