5 New Tulsa Race Massacre Documentaries and Trailers for the Tragic 100 Year Anniversary
1. ’Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Race Massacre’
Premiere Date: 7 p.m. May 30.
Where: The History Channel.
Executive Produced by NBA All Star Russell Westbrook, this highly anticipated documentary is directed by Peabody and Emmy-Award winner Stanley Nelson best known for the Freedom Riders and Peabody winner Marco Williams (Two Towns of Jasper).
As reported by the Oklahoman, the film will chronicle the birth of Black Wall Street to its catastrophic destruction over two bloody days in 1921 to the fallout and reconstruction. It also will follow Tulsa’s current grave excavation efforts at Oaklawn Cemetery, where unmarked coffins of victims who were killed and buried during the massacre have been recovered. Rare archival footage and imagery from 100 years ago will be paired with commentary and interviews with sources from the Tulsa Historical Society & Museum, the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation, the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission and the Vernon AME Church.
2. ‘Dreamland: The Burning of Black Wall Street’
Premiere Date: 8 p.m. May 31
LeBron James and his business partner Maverick Carter are executive producing “Dreamland” under their high profile SpringHill Entertainment banner in a partnership with news giant CNN Films.
Directed and produced by Salima Koroma, “Dreamland” is who helmed the 2016 documentary “Bad Rap,” about Asian American rappers, including Awkwafina, is executive produced by James, Carter, Jamal Henderson and Philip Byron of The SpringHill Company and Amy Entelis and Courtney Sexton of CNN Films. Jamila Jordan-Theus and Patrick Altema of The SpringHill Company are co-executive producers. Koroma said she wants her documentary’s depiction of Black Wall Street to evoke the same sense of wonder she felt when viewing the fictional Wakanda in the Marvel film “Black Panther.” “When people hear about Black Wall Street, they think about the destruction, the loss, the sadness, the death. And I think that when we tell stories about Black people in America, we tend to go to that. When I think about Black Wall Street, I think about the wonder, the beauty, the ambition, the color,” she said. “A lot of the stuff was burned … so how do we bring this place to life?”
3. ‘Rise Again: Tulsa and the Red Summer’
Premiere Date: 8 p.m. June 18.
When: National Geographic.
Another big network known for documentary programming, National Geographic Documentary Films has partnered with prolific documentarian Dawn Porter, who just last year released “Good Trouble: John Lewis” and “The Way I See It” – and along with Trailblazer Studios on a feature documentary that put a new spotlight on a century of intense racial conflict.
After its June 18 Nat Geo premiere, “Rise Again” (originally titled “Red Summer”) will be available on Hulu on the same day. The release it timed with Juneteenth, which is the next day on June 19, when the last enslaved Black people in Texas received news of their emancipation.
4. ‘Tulsa: The Fire and the Forgotten’
Premiere Date: 8 p.m. May 31.
Where: PBS (OETA in Oklahoma), pbs.org and the PBS Video app.
Directed by Jonathan Silvers and narrated by Emmy-winning journalist Michel Martin Tulsa: The Fire and the Forgotten, focuses on present-day public initiatives to memorialize the horrific race massacre and other racial violence across the country – and how both Black and white communities view such efforts.
5. ‘Tulsa Race Massacre: 100 Years Later’
Premiere Date 7 p.m. May 31, with an encore at 10 p.m.
Oklahoma Educational Television Authority is a one-hour documentary that combines “historical accounts of the massacre and the art of local creatives to paint a full picture of the Greenwood District – from the past to the present and to aspirations of a bright future.” It also dives into how Greenwood continues to suffer from politically motivated redlining policies and the construction of a highway.