The child's real mother had been romantically involved with a known hoodlum who died in an accident. She thought her child, then a baby, had died with him. She has since married into society and now other hoods are trying to extort big money from her with their knowledge of the child. How will the clever and compassionate reporter handle all this, get a scoop and not wreck the black woman's life?
In this 1937 newspaper yarn, there's Fredi Washington in scenes with the white actors as a key character in the story. And she's not playing a maid. The sweet little girl who played her daughter was Joan Carroll. Joan Carroll would act in a classic MGM musical a few years later. She'd played one of younger sisters opposite Judy Garland in Vincente Minnelli's MEET ME ST. LOUIS (1944).
Hollywood had no more quality script offers for Fredi Washington after this 1937 film. Hollywood's color barrier was Hollywood's loss. ONE MILE FROM HEAVEN was director by Allan Dwan. He directed three Shirley Temple hits -- HEIDI (1937), REBECCA OF SUNNYBROOK FARM (1938) and YOUNG PEOPLE (1940).
I don't want to give any the ending, but notice that Flora and Officer Joe both get professionally get a bump upscale at the close. That was definitely different for black film characters in those days. Here's more about Fredi Washington: