Makeda Gee Florida Harris March is a proud and graceful matriarch, the anchor and emotional bellwether who holds together a hard-working African American family living in 1950s Richmond, Virginia. Embattled by the social ills of the day and the deferred dreams of Makeda's son David and his wife, the hopes of the March family are pinned on their elder son Gordon and the seedlings of change that will grow into the Civil Rights Movement. Lost in the shadows is Gordon's younger brother Gray, also bright and perceptive, but who doesn't quite measure up in his own eyes, or in the eyes of his father.
While struggling to survive the emotional vacuum of his household, Gray escapes into the safe and magical world of his grandmother Makeda's tiny parlor. Makeda, a woman blind since birth but who has always dreamed in color, begins to confide in Gray the things she "sees" and remembers from her dream state, and an increasingly detailed story emerges.