After returning from Alcatraz, Bumpy Johnson seeks to regain control of Harlem. With the streets controlled by the Italian mob, Bumpy must take on the Genovese crime family, led by Vincent "Chin" Gigante.
Realizing a consistent source of heroin is vital to reclaim Harlem, Bumpy engages in a fevered search to find a dope supply independent of the Italians. Chin engages the services of crooked cops in a plot to arrest Bumpy and send him back to jail.
Bumpy unexpectedly finds himself at Elise's side when her shoplifting arrest and subsequent abuse is the catalyst for a protest where conflicting interests cause tensions to rise.
Cassius Clay battles local boxing hero Doug Jones in the ring. Mayme insists Bumpy back Jones, an advocate for her Harlem Youth organization, but Malcolm urges Bumpy to back Clay. Meanwhile, Chin engages in a turf war for Harlem with Bonnano.
In an effort to break Bumpy’s bank, Chin fixes a bet. As a result, Bumpy owes the winners more than he can cover. Police arrest Stella and Teddy for kissing. Elise looks toward the Nation of Islam in order to better herself.
To cover his debt, Bumpy is tasked with killing a witness testifying against the Genovese family. Elijah Muhammed tours Malcolm X’s mosque where he meets Elise and asks her to spy on Malcolm. Meanwhile, Chin finds out Teddy is alive.
Bumpy incites war between the Genovese and Bonanno families. When Margaret goes missing, Mayme teams up with Elise to find her. Adam Clayton Powell Jr. feels the repercussions from his slander dispute, and Stella reveals a family secret.
On the day of the March on Washington, Chin and Bonnano are at war in Harlem. Bumpy finds out he and Mayme never formally adopted Margaret, so he asks Elise for her permission. Malcolm X and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. travel to D.C. for the march.
Due to slum conditions in Harlem, Adam Clayton Powell Jr. leads a rent strike and investigates the owners of the buildings. Ernie Nunzi searches for the hooker who helped set up Zambrano, while Bumpy and Mayme experience tension in their marriage.
In the Season One Finale, when Bumpy blackmails the mob in an effort to secure the safety of himself and his family, it doesn’t go as planned. President John F. Kennedy is assassinated. Teddy performs at the Apollo Theater in Harlem.