Beginning in the 1930s Doctor Alfred Blalock (Alan Rickman) and his African-American research partner Vivien Thomas (Mos Def) work to find the cause and create a cure to Blue Baby syndrome (a fatal heart problem in children). Volatile but brilliant partners in the lab, in the outside world they live in wildly different circles and Thomas is classified as and paid as a janitor the entire time he works with Blalock. Blalock is widely celebrated for his ground breaking work, while Thomas is ignored and relegated to working as a bartender at the very parties that celebrate Blalock and his work. Eventually they fall out and cease their work together. But on the day of his death Blalock gives an interview praising Thomas' work and calling his surgical gift "something the Lord made". The article brings long overdue attention to Thomas.
Thanks Mary C!