My Past Is My Own

My Past Is My Own is a television film which aired as a CBS Schoolbreak Special on January 24, 1989. The film is centered on a sit-in in the early 1960s at a racially segregated lunch counter in the Southern United States. Whoopi Goldberg, Phill Lewis and Allison Dean portray the lead characters.


Justin Cook (Phill Lewis) and his sister Kerry (Allison Dean) are two African American teenagers living in a middle-class New Jersey household in the late 1980s. The Cook family is visited by their distant cousin, psychologist Mariah Johnston (Whoopi Goldberg). A contemporary of Justin and Kerry's parents, Mariah is about to receive an award for her years of community work, particularly in the area of civil rights. Having been born after the Civil Rights Movement, Justin and Kerry never experienced Jim Crow segregation, and the two fail to appreciate the stories about the era that Mariah and their parents recount at dinner.