One hundred years ago this week, a white mob attacked the Greenwood neighborhood of segregated Tulsa, OK, a thriving business district known as “Black Wall Street” where many of the city’s roughly 10,000 Black residents lived.
The dispute centered on a charge of sexual assault by a black teenager against a white elevator operator. Fearing a lynching, an armed cadre of Black men confronted an equally armed group of white men outside the jail where the teen was being held. Shot were fired, and the aftermath saw a two-day spree of murder, assault, arson and looting, one of the worst incidents of racial violence in American history. The charges against the teen were later dropped.
As the country marks the awful event’s centennial, many TV networks are airing programs about the massacre, its aftermath and its historical impact. Here’s a roundup of some of programming and podcasts tied to the anniversary of the events of May 31-June 1, 1921 (all times PT unless noted):
Gayle King will anchor Tulsa 1921: An American Tragedy at 10 p.m. Monday. The special features eyewitness accounts from survivors and descendants, who share their emotional accounts of the loss of family members and generational wealth. It also will air at 8 p.m. Monday on BET and at 7 p.m. Monday on Smithsonian Channel.
MSNBC correspondent Trymaine Lee hosts a digital documentary Blood on Black Wall Street: The Legacy of the Tulsa Massacre that is streaming now on NBCNews.com and will hit Peacock on Sunday. Tiffany Cross anchors MSNBC’s Cross Connection from Tulsa, speaking with those on the front lines seeking justice for survivors and descendants of the massacre. NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, Today, CNBC, NBC Digital News and other NBCU outlets also will feature segments about the riot. Lee hosts a two-part episode of MSNBC’s Into America podcast that traces the century-long financial impact of the massacre through the story of two Black families. The first episode is available now, and Part 2 goes live Thursday.
The latest episode of ABC News’ Steve Osunsami takes a closer look at the push to find and identify the mob’s victims and the controversy surrounding efforts to render justice for those who died and their descendants as part of the newsmagazine Soul of a Nation. The episode also is streaming on Hulu. All episodes of Osunsami’s ABC News podcast Soul of a Nation: Tulsa’s Buried Truth are available now.
The pubcaster will air the documentary Tulsa: The Fire and the Forgotten at 9 p.m. Monday. DeNeen L. Brown of Washington Post investigates the deadly assault and racial atrocity that has gone without punishment by the law as she explores issues of atonement, reconciliation and reparation in the past, present and future through the historical lens of white violence and Black resistance. Set for 10:30 p.m. Monday is Tulsa Revisited, A PBS NewsHour Weekend Special, which will explore the events and themes of The Fire and the Forgotten in the context of history and current social issues. (Check local listings for airtimes of both programs.)
Part 1 of the two-night special The Legacy of Black Wall Street, which tracks the rise of the Greenwood District up until the massacre that destroyed the 36-block booming business epicenter, premieres at 9 p.m. Tuesday. Part 2 airs at 9 p.m. June 8.
The cable net’s two-hour documentary Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Race Massacre, executive produced by NBA All-Star Russell Westbrook, airs at 8 p.m. Monday. It 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 six-episode Season 2 of the podcast Blindspot, titled Blindspot: Tulsa Burning, is available now. Through conversations with descendants, historians and local activists, it considers how the traumatic two-day attack continues to take a toll.
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CHANNEL
The documentary Rise Again: Tulsa and the Red Summer, which sheds new light on a century-old period of intense racial conflict, will premiere on June 18 to commemorate Juneteenth.
Owned by Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios, the video news community devoted to providing stories that affect and reflect Black America is featuring the documentary Genocide in the Heartland. April Ryan takes viewers through the prevailing fight for justice for survivors and descendants of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Watch the trailer here:
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