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 Tulsa Aftermath.
Greenwood business district in Tulsa, 1921.

Five Films on The Tulsa Race Massacre (2021)

One hundred years ago this past week, on May 31 and June 1, 1921, white mobs attacked black residents and businesses in the Greenwood district of Tulsa, Oklahoma. One scholar called it "one of the single worst incidents of racial violence in American history." The attacks destroyed some 35 blocks of "Black Wall Street" — the wealthiest black community in the entire United States at the time. Estimates vary and are contested, but some 39 blacks were killed, 800 were admitted to hospitals, and another 6,000 were interned for several days. About 10,000 black people were left homeless. For the most part, this tragedy has been actively ignored, and omitted from history text books. But now, on the centennial of the massacre, there are several movies commemorating the tragedy, in addition to numerous television one-off specials. These include HBO's 2019 award-winning superhero drama series (19 episodes) called Watchmen; Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Race Massacre (The History Channel); Dreamland: The Burning of Black Wall Street (CNN and HBO Max); Tulsa: The Fire and the Forgotten (PBS); and premiering on June 18, Rise Again: Tulsa and the Red Summer (National Geographic and Hulu).

Dan Clendenin:

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