|A Different World episode|
|Directed by||Glynn Turman|
|Original air date||July 9, 1993|
"Great X-Pectations" is an episode from the sitcom A Different World, and was first broadcast on July 9, 1993 on NBC. Written by Jeanette Collins & Mimi Friedman and directed by Glynn Turman, it is the 20th episode of the sixth season, and the 140th episode of the series. Moreover, it is the final episode of the series to air on NBC before the end of its run. Several additional episodes remain unaired until years later, when the series is in syndication.
The episode is inspired by the only face-to-face encounter between Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, who met each other on March 26, 1964 during U.S. Senate debates of what would become the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
At Hillman College, Dean Dorothy Dandridge Davenport (Jenifer Lewis) teaches her African-American history class about the only face-to-face encounter between Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, who met each other on March 26, 1964 during U.S. Senate debates of what would become the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Davenport assigns a project wherein her students will pair up and deliver an oral presentation speculating what might have been said during that encounter, using quotes from speeches by the two men. Shortly thereafter, two of those students, Terrell (Patrick Y. Malone) and Charmaine (Karen Malina White) are verbally harassed and physically threatened by a number of local residents in a pickup truck. The pair is forced to jump in a ravine to protect themselves. Embarrassed and angry, Terrell decides to begin carrying a gun.
Later, as Terrell and Dorian (Bumper Robinson) are about to deliver their presentation, Dean Davenport notices the gun. She confiscates the weapon and informs Terrell that he will be expelled. She goes to the home of Terrell's faculty advisor Dwayne Wayne (Kadeem Hardison) to get his assistance in initiating expulsion proceedings. Although Dwayne appeals to Davenport on the young man's behalf, he is incredulous with Terrell when the student soon arrives at Dwayne's house. Terrell argues that carrying a gun is necessary back in his neighborhood in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, but Dwayne (who grew up in the same neighborhood) is unpersuaded. Dwayne notes that he had a similar incident with local residents a year earlier, and that he would have killed all of them if he had possessed a gun at the time. Sometime thereafter, Terrell goes to Davenport's class, where she allows Terrell to deliver his oral presentation with Dorian; Terrell uses the words of King, while Dorian uses those of Malcolm X. Davenport is persuaded by their quality of the work, particularly when Terrell (as King) states that he believes in arming himself not with a gun, but with "knowledge, education and enlightenment." She ultimately realizes that Terrell is too excellent a student to expel, and places him on probation instead.
The episode ends displaying a photograph of King and Malcolm X laughing and shaking hands – one of the only photographs in existence of the two men together.
- A Different World at the Internet Movie Database
- "Great X-Pectations" at the Internet Movie Database