James's mother, Rachel, recounts her life in an interview with him. Here, her voice can be heard as her father is seen crossing the Russian border.
In this scene, we see Rachel being told to pray by her father as a young girl. This gives the audience a glimpse into the religion they identified with and the kind of life they led as Orthodox Jews.
The year was 1929 when Rachel married a Black man who became the father of her 10 kids---including James. Her family shunned her for this and proclaimed her dead by performing the death rituals of their religion. She didn't care.
James lived a normal life as a child. Though he lived in a dangerous, area in Harlem, he still lived in a house.
James had 11 other siblings. His mother would put them 2-4 to a bed.