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Elgar Enders, the son of a wealthy industrialist, buys a tenement in Brooklyn which he plans to convert into a psychedelic home for himself after evicting the present Negro tenants. Elgar's ideas are changed, however, when he becomes acquainted with the tenants, who include Marge, a fortune-teller; Professor Duboise, a black segregationist; the Copee family; and an invalid couple who live in the basement. After deciding to allow the tenants to remain, Elgar moves into the building and begins to make some improvements. Mr. and Mrs. Enders are disturbed by their son's behavior, especially when he insults Heywood, the Negro butler, for his subservience, and divulges that he is in love with Lanie, a mulatto art student. Upon returning to his tenement, he throws a party and makes love to Fanny Copee, a black woman whose husband is in jail. Months later, Fanny reports that she is pregnant, and Elgar abandons Lanie to take care of Fanny. When her husband returns from jail, he attacks Elgar with an ax but cannot bring himself to kill him; instead, he suffers a breakdown and is taken to the hospital. Fanny gives birth to the baby and tells Elgar that she plans to put the baby up for adoption so that it can be brought up as a white. Elgar takes the baby himself, packs up his belongings, and drives off to reconcile with Lanie, leaving the house to the Copee family.