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The documentary, “Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Race Massacre”, is set to be released in the Spring to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre and the destruction of Black Wall Street.
“The Tulsa Race Massacre was not something I was taught about in school or in any of my history books. It was only after spending 11 years in Oklahoma that I learned of this deeply troubling and heartbreaking event,” Westbrook said. “This is one of many overlooked stories of African Americans in this country that deserves to be told. These are the stories we must honor and amplify so we can learn from the past and create a better future.”
The History Channel will also join the Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation, Endeavor, RedFlight Innovation, and Values Partnerships to create an educational and experiential campaign focused on the history and legacy of Tulsa’s Black Wall street. It will provide historical context and encourage young people nationwide to pursue avenues of innovation and entrepreneurship. The initiative will communicate the importance of investing in Black communities. With an emphasis on youth the docuseries connects to the need for progress and development now.
“Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Race Massacre” will take an in-depth, sobering look at the events of a century ago and how the impact is still being felt today. The documentary will focus on a specific period, taking viewers from the birth of Black Wall Street, to its catastrophic downfall over the course of two bloody days, and finally the fallout and reconstruction. It will also incorporate rare archival footage and imagery from the time. The project will weave in present-day stories and interviews from historians from organizations including the Tulsa Historical Society & Museum, the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation, the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission, and the Historic Vernon AME Church, among others.
“The horrific story of the burning of Black Wall Street has long haunted me,” Director Stanley Nelson said. “While I was able to touch on the Tulsa Race Massacre in a short segment in an earlier film, I knew this story needed a much deeper treatment.” Nelson said the team aims to restore Tulsa, Oklahoma and the fateful events surrounding the 1921 massacre of its Black residents to their rightful place in American history.”