Touched by an Angel

Episode 524: “Black Like Monica”

Episode 524:  “Black Like Monica”
Original Air Date: May 2, 1999

Written by: Martha Williamson
Directed by: Tim Van Patten
Produced by:

Martha Williamson
Jon Andersen
R.J. Visciglia, Jr.

Guest Cast:

 

Sheriff Tom McKinsley John Ritter
James Rick Worthy
Loretta Shelly Robertson
Charlie Jim Metzler
Ed Fred Applegate
Lavonda Davenia McFadden
Carson Paul Francis
Cyrus Charlie Robinson
Mooney James Jamison
Bud Nicholas Richert
Rosa Parks Herself

Monica encounters Tess on the side of a dirt road on the outskirts of Aynesville, a small Southern Illinois town. Tess, holding a bloodied noose and crying, directs Monica to the body of a dead black man. Tess, in anguish, tells Monica that she has given up on earth, and is returning to heaven. In downtown Aynesville, preparations are being made for the upcoming Civil Rights Day and a visit from Rosa Parks. Lavonda, the director of the celebration, wonders why Mooney, the set builder, is no where to be found.

Monica arrives and informs Tom, the sheriff, about the murder. Monica takes Tom, Lavonda, Deputy James, the Mayor and a few others to the murder site, and they identify the body as Mooney’s. The group suspects that the murder was committed to ruin the celebration, and, with the exception of Tom and James, decides to keep the murder quiet. To ensure the cover up, Tom reluctantly locks Monica in a jail cell. As a black man, James protests the cover up and the abuse of Monica’s civil rights. That night Monica prays for a way to help this town, despite being locked up. Though angels don’t need to sleep, Monica does, and has a violent dream about Mooney’s death. Monica wakes to find the cell door unlocked, and her skin black. She leaves her cell, and walks down the street, but no one seems to notice that the color of her skin has changed.

At the same time, Tom and James discover that Monica is missing. The crowd gathers in the townsquare to meet the bus carrying Rosa Parks, and Monica, still unrecognized, begins to ask the members of the committee if they know where she can find Mooney, which, of course, makes them nervous. Monica returns to the dirt road, hoping to find Tess and some direction, but instead she encounters the Foleys, the men suspected of killing Mooney. Upset that Mooney’s murder isn’t causing a stir, they plan to kill Monica and leave the body in a more prominent location. Monica flees and, when she stumbles and starts to bleed, she realizes that she is human and becomes very afraid. With the Foleys drawing near, Monica prays that God will make her white again. When the Foleys find Monica, her skin has become white, and they leave confused.

Monica weeps, beginning to comprehend her failure. Monica insists on speaking with Rosa Parks, who invites Monica to sit on the bus with her. Monica tearfully recounts her situation to an understanding Ms. Parks, and Tess appears, telling Monica that she too made a mistake by giving up on God, and that He has forgiven both of them. Tess tells Monica that she first had to confront the racism in herself before she can help this town. With newfound confidence, Monica reveals herself to Tom and James, encouraging them to be honest with each other about their own prejudices. After a heartfelt talk, the men announce the death of Mooney to the town, and Monica lays flowers on Mooney’s grave resolving to thank him when she sees him for helping to open her eyes.

 

 

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