A Russell Westbrook-backed documentary about the 1921 race massacre in Tulsa will air on the History Channel.
In a news release, Westbrook says the racially-motivated obliteration of an entire working class Black community was something he wasn’t taught about in school or in any of his history books.
He goes onto say it was only after spending 11 years in Oklahoma that he truly learned of this heartbreaking act of domestic terrorism.
“This is one of the many overlooked stories of African Americans that deserve to be told. These are stories we must honor and amplify so we can learn from the past and create a better future.”
The two-hour documentary “Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Race Massacre” is from Peabody and Emmy Award winner Stanley Nelson and DuPont award winner Marco Williams, Westbrook, Donnell Beverly (President Of Westbrook Enterprise), Blackfin (an eOne company) Firelight Films.
With Nelson (Freedom Fighters, Miles Davis: Birth Of The Cool) and Marco Williams (Two Towns Of Jasper) leading the creation of the film and Westbrook as executive producer, the project is slated to air this spring on the History Channel.
The debut is being timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921, one of the worst acts of racial violence in American history.
Between May 31 and June 1, 1921 mobs of white residents attacked, set flame and ultimately destroyed the Greenwood District, which was at the time one of the wealthiest Black communities in the United States, effectively earning it the nickname “Black Wall Street.”
READ MORE: Retrospective: Black Wall Street Burns
The deadly tragedy was covered up for decades and even omitted from history books in Oklahoma where it took place.
The History Channel will also join Russel Westbrook’s Why Not? Foundation, Endeavor, RedFlight Innovation, and Values Partnerships to create an educational and experiential campaign that is solely focused on the history and legacy of Tulsa’s Black Wall Street.
It will also provide historical context while encouraging young people nationwide to pursue avenues of innovation and entrepreneurship. The initiative will communicate the importance of investing in Black communities with a focus on the youth- connecting the docuseries to the very need for progress and development which still to this day leaves a lot to be desired.
The docuseries will take an in-depth, but sobering look at the events of a century ago, and how the impact is still being felt some 100 years later. It will also focus on a specific period: which is the birth of Black Wall Street, to its planned and catastrophic downfall over the course of two bloody days and finally the fallout and reconstruction.
The film will also incorporate rare archival footage and imagery from that time, while also weaving in present-day stories and interviews from historians (Tulsa Historical Society & Museum, the John Franklin Center for Reconciliation, the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission, and the Historic Vernon AME Church).
This is another notch in the NBA superstar’s portfolio which is growing by the minute. Westbrook’s impact beyond the court now includes media and production, fashion, philanthropy, banking, technology and education.
He’s always said he wants to be the best off the floor and it appears as if he’s making that happen. The true beauty of it is that he’s doing it for the betterment of the African-American community.