Nat Geo and CNN have set premiere dates for two previously announced documentaries that will mark the somber 100 year anniversary of the Tulsa Massacre, where white marauders murdered countless Black men, women and children and burned the Greenwood district, a historic center of Black wealth known as “Black Wall Street,” to the ground.
While accounts vary, the trouble began when a 19-year-old African American man was arrested after being accused of assaulting a 17-year-old white woman inside Tulsa’s Drexel Building. A white lynch mob came hunting for the man, but they were fought off by African American World War I veterans. These “violent white vigilantes” went on a rampage and killed hundreds of Black men, women, and children. Businesses were burned. Some marauders even flew airplanes to drop incendiary devices into Black residential areas. More than 35 city blocks were razed. Black residents needed shelter from the American Red Cross for weeks; many permanently fled the city.
Dreamland: The Burning of Black Wall Street hails from CNN, with documentary filmmaker Salima Koroma writing and directing the film that celebrates the Black cultural renaissance that existed in the district.
As present-day Tulsa seeks reconciliation and accountability for the tragedy, Koroma’s film blends archival media, animation, narrated letters and diary entries, as well as contemporary interviews. Dreamland also examines the findings of the current archaeological search for mass graves.
Fremantle has acquired the international distribution rights to the film.
The film premieres May 31 on CNN.
Rise Again: Tulsa and the Red Summer (pictured) is produced by National Geographic Documentary Films in partnership with filmmaker Dawn Porter (Good Trouble: John Lewis). The film follows award-winning Washington Post journalist and Oklahoma native DeNeen Brown on the search for a mass grave in her native state.
Following a 2018 investigative report, Brown explores the current new anti-racism movement in the context of the Tulsa Massacre and the Red Summer. With access to family members of those killed, city officials, archaeologists and historians, the film reveals the decades-long effort by descendants and community members to find the victims’ bodies and unearth truths that have been suppressed for nearly a century.
Rise Again: Tulsa and the Red Summer is produced by Porter’s Trilogy Films and Trailblazer Studios in association with National Geographic Studios. Porter serves as producer and director, with Brown as contributing reporter and Lauren Capps as story producer. For Trailblazer Studios, Jeff Lanter and Ashleigh DiTonto are executive producers. For National Geographic, Christine Weber is executive producer.
The film will premiere on National Geographic June 18, and will stream on Hulu June 19 in commemoration of Juneteenth, when the last enslaved Black people in Texas received news of their emancipation. It will air globally in 172 countries and 43 languages.
(Photo: Christopher Creese/National Geographic)