A+E Networks’ History has picked up a previously announced documentary about the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 from directors Stanley Nelson (Freedom Riders) and Marco Williams (Two Towns of Jasper), the network revealed at the 2021 Television Critics Association winter press tour.
Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Race Massacre (w/t) — slated to air this spring to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the deadly assault — is executive produced by NBA All-Star Russell Westbrook.
The film is produced by Blackfin, an eOne company, and Nelson’s (pictured) Firelight Films.
It will examine the birth of Black Wall Street — hundreds of Black-owned businesses and homes in the Greenwood district of Tulsa, Oklahoma — and the area’s downfall after mobs of white residents attacked the community, as well as the fallout and reconstruction.
The film will incorporate archival footage and imagery from that time and weave present-day stories and interviews with historians from organizations such as 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.
History is also partnering with the Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation, Endeavor, RedFlight Innovation and Values Partnership to create a youth-focused educational and experiential campaign focused on the history and legacy of Tulsa’s Black Wall Street.
“The horrific story of the burning of Black Wall Street has long haunted me,” Nelson said in a statement. “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. I’m grateful to be working on this film with such wonderful partners – Marco Williams with whom I have collaborated with on Tell Them We Are Rising, Russell Westbrook, Blackfin and The History Channel. Together we are aiming to restore Tulsa, Oklahoma and the fateful events surrounding the 1921 massacre of its Black residents to their rightful place in American history.”