The HISTORY Channel Sets May 30 Premiere for 'Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Race Massacre' Executed Produced by Russell Westbrook and Directed by Stanley Nelson
THE HISTORY® CHANNEL PREMIERES ‘TULSA BURNING: THE 1921 RACE MASSACRE’ EXECUTIVE PRODUCED BY NBA SUPER STAR RUSSELL WESTBROOK
AND DIRECTED BY EMMY-AWARD® WINNER STANLEY NELSON AND PEABODY AWARD WINNER MARCO WILLIAMS ON SUNDAY, MAY 30 AT 8PM ET/PT
Two-Hour Documentary Airs To Coincide With The 100th Anniversary
Of The Tragic Tulsa Race Massacre Events
And Launches New Podcast ‘Blindspot: Tulsa Burning’
Debuting May 28 As Complementary Audio Content
Network Supports Preservation Of Tulsa’s
Historic Vernon A.M.E. Church Through Its
‘Save Our History’ Initiative
New York, NY – April 26, 2021 – The HISTORY® Channel sets the premiere date for its new two-hour documentary “Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Race Massacre” on Sunday, May 30 at 8PM ET/PT. Executive produced by NBA super star and philanthropist Russell Westbrook, and directed by Peabody and Emmy-Award® winning director Stanley Nelson (“Freedom Riders”) and Peabody and duPont-Award winner Marco Williams (“Two Towns of Jasper”), the documentary commemorates the 100th anniversary of the horrific Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921, one of the worst acts of racial violence in American history, and calls attention to the previously ignored but necessary repair of a town once devastated. The HISTORY® Channel is also partnering with WNYC Studios to launch a new six-part podcast series Blindspot: Tulsa Burning on May 28 as complementary audio content. Additionally, through its “Save Our History” philanthropic initiative, the network is helping to preserve the Historic Vernon A.M.E. Church, the only standing Black-owned structure from the Historic Greenwood Avenue and Black Wall Street era.
In the 1920s, the Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma, also known as Black Wall Street, was one of the most prosperous African American communities in the United States. Filled with booming businesses and thriving entrepreneurs, the district served as a mecca of Black ingenuity and promise, until the evening of May 31, 1921, which marked the start of the devastating Tulsa Race Massacre. More than thirty-five city blocks were burned to the ground and hundreds of Black city dwellers were killed. The Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 is one of the most tragic moments in our nation’s history, yet this harrowing event is largely unknown to many Americans. It is an often-overlooked story that needs to be told.
“Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Race Massacre” takes an in-depth, sobering look at the tragic events of a century ago and focuses on a specific period, from the birth of Black Wall Street, to its catastrophic downfall over the course of two bloody days, and finally the fallout and reconstruction. The documentary also follows the city’s current-day grave excavation efforts at Oaklawn Cemetery where numerous unmarked coffins of victims who were killed and buried during the massacre have been recovered. It will also feature rare archival footage and imagery from the time, coupled with commentary and interviews from numerous historians, city leaders, and activists, including the Tulsa Historical Society & Museum, the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation, the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission and the Historic Vernon A.M.E. Church, among others.
In addition, The HISTORY® Channel will be supporting the Historic Vernon A.M.E. Church in Tulsa with a “Save Our History” grant to help preserve aspects of the building, which is the only standing Black-owned structure from the Historic Greenwood Avenue and Black Wall Street era. Funds from the Save Our History grant will help restore areas such as the refuge room in the church basement where Black citizens of Tulsa sought safe harbor during the 1921 massacre. The church also plans to build a Prayer Wall For Racial Healing using the exterior wall of the basement, which upon completion will be the only prayer wall for racial healing in the world. “Save Our History” is The HISTORY® Channel’s initiative to save and preserve important sites and stories throughout the U.S.
The HISTORY® Channel is also joining the Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation, WME, RedFlight Innovation and Values Partnerships to create an educational and experiential initiative which will provide Tulsa-area students with cutting-edge STEAM kits focused on innovation and entrepreneurship. Digital versions of the curriculum will also be available for students nationwide.
The HISTORY® Channel has also partnered with WNYC Studios on Blindspot: Tulsa Burning, a new six-part podcast series that explores this devastating piece of American history and its aftermath through narratives of people who lived there. Launching May 28, the series takes listeners back to the turn of the 20th century and the settling of Oklahoma, when a wave of racial terror rocked the frontier. The podcast explores how Tulsa’s Greenwood District endured destruction and how this traumatic event continues to take a toll – through conversations with survivors, descendants, historians, and local experts. Hosted by WNYC Studios’ KalaLea and produced in collaboration with KOSU public radio in Oklahoma, Blindspot: Tulsa Burning will be a complementary podcast to the on-air TV documentary and a standalone addition to A+E Networks’ burgeoning stable of podcasts.
“Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Race Massacre” is produced for The HISTORY® Channel by Blackfin (an eOne Company) and Firelight Films, and will be available as a two-part series on Hulu beginning this summer. Stanley Nelson and Marco Williams serve as directors of the documentary. Russell Westbrook is executive producer. Geno McDermott is executive producer for Blackfin. Donnell Beverly is executive producer for Russell Westbrook Enterprises. Nelson is executive producer for Firelight Films. Eli Lehrer and Jen Wagman are executive producers for The HISTORY® Channel.
BLACKFIN, an eOne company, was founded in 2014 by director and executive producer Geno McDermott. In just six years, the company has quickly become an industry leader in producing premium nonfiction content. As a company founded and driven by filmmakers and storytellers, BLACKFIN is a sought after production partner for award-winning directors, producers, writers, cinematographers, editors and organizations looking to collaborate on groundbreaking projects.
BLACKFIN’s diverse slate of past and current productions, which live within eOne’s global unscripted portfolio, ranges from best-in-class true crime series and specials in Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez & Tulsa Burning: The Rise and Fall of Black Wall Street…to epic historical docu-dramas in Jerusalem: City of God, City of Conflict… to blue-chip natural history series in Tiny Creatures… to prestige feature documentaries in My Perfect World. Our series, specials and films reach audiences on NETFLIX, CNN, DISCOVERY, ID, HISTORY, NAT GEO, ANIMAL PLANET and internationally, and our feature films have premiered at festivals including DOC NYC.
About Firelight Films”
Founded by MacArthur Fellow and National Humanities Medalist Stanley Nelson, Firelight Films produces documentaries by and about communities of color. Firelight Films productions have garnered multiple Primetime Emmy, Peabody, IDA, and Sundance awards. Among them, the feature films Crack: Cocaine, Corruption & Conspiracy for Netflix; Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool; The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution; Freedom Summer; Freedom Riders; The Murder of Emmett Till; and The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords. Firelight Films has also produced notable short films including “The Story of Access,” commissioned by Starbucks in 2017 for its anti-bias employee training program, and “Commemorate and Celebrate Freedom” commissioned by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture for its opening night in 2015.
Upcoming Firelight Films productions include Attica, about the 1971 prison rebellion in upstate New York, for Showtime; and Creating the New World: The Transatlantic Slave Trade, a four-part documentary series for PBS. Follow @firelightfilms on Instagram and Twitter. For more information on Firelight Films visit www.firelightfilms.tv.
About The HISTORY® Channel
The HISTORY® Channel, a division of A+E Networks, is the premier destination for historical storytelling. From best-in-class documentary events, to a signature slate of industry leading nonfiction series and premium fact-based scripted programming, The HISTORY® Channel serves as the most trustworthy source of informational entertainment in media. The HISTORY® Channel has been named the #1 U.S. TV network in buzz for seven consecutive years by YouGov BrandIndex, and a top favorite TV network by Beta Research Corporation. For a deeper dive, visit history.com or follow @history on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. For additional press materials visit the A+E Networks Press Center at http://press.aenetworks.com.