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Format Awards 2021

History marks Tulsa massacre centenary

A+E Networks-owned US cablenet History has commissioned a two-hour special documentary marking the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa race massacre.

Stanley Nelson

Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Race Massacre (working title) is being executive produced by NBA star Russell Westbrook and directed by Stanley Nelson (Freedom Riders) and Marco Williams (Two Towns of Jasper).

Russell Westbrook Enterprises, Entertainment One-owned Blackfin and Firelight Films are producing the doc, which will air on History this spring.

Between May 31 and June 1, 1921, more than 300 African Americans were murdered and thousands were displaced in the city’s Greenwood District, which was set on fire, while the tragedy was covered up and left out of history books.

The doc will focus on a specific period, from the birth of Black Wall Street, as the district was known, to its catastrophic downfall over the course of two bloody days, and finally the fall-out and reconstruction.

Westbrook said: “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.

“This is one of many overlooked stories of African Americans in this country that deserves to be told. These are the stories we must honour and amplify so we can learn from the past and create a better future.”

Projects to mark the anniversary are also in the works at Cineflix Media and for National Geographic.

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