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The Education of Sonny Carson

The Education of Sonny Carson

The Education of Sonny Carson is a 1974 film based on the best-selling autobiography of Sonny Carson.

Plot

A young Black teenager and three of his friends are in the process of breaking into a local market to steal food and money. Sonny is subdued by police and soon finds himself, at the age of thirteen, serving a lenient sentence of three months. While incarcerated, Sonny meets Willie, the leader of a local gang called the Lords and is initiated into the gang. Years later, an older Sonny, who is now heavily involved in gang activities, is part of the rivalry between The Lords and a fellow gang, the Tomahawks, also known as the Hawks. Sonny is deeply entrenched in the lifestyle of a Lord, which includes frequent brawls with the Hawks. During one of these fights, one of Sonny's friends, a Lord named Li'l Boy, is fatally wounded by a stiletto. Sonny and the rest of the gang arrive at Li'l Boy's wake. As they are leaving, the other gang members notice Sonny, who is attempting to purchase a bouquet of flowers from a nearby shop. However, he is unable to afford it. Sonny then robs a white man, who is carrying a telegram with change of $100 in it. With the money, Sonny purchases the flowers and places them on Li'l Boy's casket. For his crime, Sonny is arrested and later brutalized by police during interrogation. He is sentenced to between one and three years in prison. While incarcerated, Sonny unexpectedly reunites with Willie, who teaches Sonny about the harsh realities of prison life. Sonny's father visits him in prison, letting Sonny know that he is still being supported by his family.