Nathaniel "Cornbread" Hamilton was the black urban dream and a hero to youngsters Wilford Robinson and Earl Carter. Shortly before he would have become the first man from his community to go to college, he demonstrates his scholarship-winning running ability to his friends and admirers in the
neighborhood. At the same time, the police are on a manhunt for an armed rapist. They mistake Cornbread for the rapist and shoot him dead in the street. In the aftermath of the community's shattered dream, and in the face of an intimidating police cover-up, Wilford is determined not to betray the memory of his hero.