NBA star Russell Westbrook has teamed up with the History Channel to take an in-depth look at the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre in an all-new two-hour documentary. The special directed by award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson and Marco Williams is scheduled to debut this spring to coincide with the centennial of one of the worst acts of racial violence in American history.
“I am excited to bring this project to life on such a significant event in American history,” Westbrook tweeted Thursday, after the network formally announced the project during the Television Critics Association’s 2021 winter press tour.
Provisionally titled Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Racial Massacre, the document will chronicle the events that occurred a century ago, from the birth of Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to its catastrophic downfall over two violent and deadly days, and then the aftermath and the rebuilding that followed.
The film will include rare footage and archival footage, as well as current interviews from historians from organizations such as the Tulsa Historical Society and Museum, the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation, the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission, and the Church. Historic Vernon AME.
“The Tulsa career massacre was not something that I was taught in school or in any of my history books,” the NBA star said in a statement. “It was only after spending 11 years in Oklahoma that I learned of this deeply disturbing and heartbreaking event. This is one of the many overlooked stories of African Americans in this country that deserves to be told. These are the stories that we must honor and expand so that we can learn from the past and create a better future. “
“The horrible story of the Black Wall Street fire has haunted me for a long time,” Nelson said. “While I was able to touch on the Tulsa career massacre in a short segment of an earlier film, I knew this story needed much more in-depth treatment.”
The director added: “Together, our goal is to restore Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the fateful events surrounding the 1921 massacre of its black residents to their rightful place in American history.”
The film is the latest project to highlight America’s forgotten past, with the National Geographic Channel teaming up with filmmaker Dawn Porter on her own documentary called Red summer.
Additionally, director Salima Koroma and LeBron James’ production company are working on another unscripted look at the massacre while Dream Hampton is developing a scripted miniseries called Black wall street.