NBA star Russell Westbrook is teaming up with the History Channel to give people an in-depth look into the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Race Massacre is slated to debut this spring. The two-hour film, which will be directed by filmmaker Stanley Nelson and Marco Williams, will coincide with the massacre’s 100th anniversary. In 1921, violent white mobs attacked Black Wall Street, which was the wealthiest Black community in the United States.
“The Tulsa Race Massacre was not something I was taught about in school or in any of my history books,” the Washington Wizards star said in a statement.
He continued, “It was only after spending 11 years in Oklahoma that I learned of this deeply troubling and heartbreaking event. This is one of many overlooked stories of African Americans in this country that deserve to be told. These are the stories we must honor and amplify so we can learn from the past and create a better future.”
The documentary will give viewers insight into the deadly events that happened a century ago, including the emergence of Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma to its violent two-day downfall. The program will also feature rare footage and present-day interviews from historians from the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation, the Tulsa Historical Society & Museum, the Historic Vernon AME Church and the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission.
“The horrific story of the burning of Black Wall Street has long haunted me,” said Nelson. “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.”
He added, “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.”