A hundred years ago this week, a white mob attacked the Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, OK, a thriving business district called Black Wall Street, where many of the city’s 10,000 black residents lived.
The argument revolved around a sexual assault charge against a white elevator operator by a black teenager. Afraid of being lynched, an armed cadre of black men confronted an equally armed group of white men outside the prison where the teenager was being held. Shots were fired and what followed was a two-day rampage of murder, assault, arson and looting, one of the worst incidents of racial violence in American history. The teenager’s charges were later dropped.
To mark the centenary of the terrible event, many television stations broadcast programs about the massacre, its aftermath and its historical impact. Here is a recap of some of the programs and podcasts associated with the anniversary of the events May 31 through June 1, 1921 (all times PT unless otherwise noted):
Tulsa is canceling its star-studded “Remember & Rise” event because of its Black Wall Street massacre
Gayle King will anchor Tulsa in 1921: An American Tragedy on Monday at 10 p.m. The specifics are eyewitness accounts from survivors and offspring who share their emotional accounts of the loss of family members and the wealth of the generations. It also airs Monday at 8 p.m. on BET and Monday at 7 p.m. on the Smithsonian Channel.
MSNBC correspondent Trymaine Lee is hosting a digital documentary, Blood on Black Wall Street: The Legacy of the Tulsa Massacre, which is now streamed on NBCNews.com and due out on Peacock on Sunday. Tiffany Cross anchors MSNBC’s Tulsa Cross Connection and speaks to those on the front lines seeking justice for survivors and descendants of the massacre. NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, CNBC, NBC Digital News and other NBCU branches will also feature segments about the uprising today. Lee is hosting a two-part episode of MSNBC’s Into America podcast that traces the centuries-long financial impact of the massacre through the story of two black families. The first episode is available now and Part 2 goes live on Thursday.
The latest episode, by Steve Osunsami of ABC News, delves deeper into the quest to find and identify the victims of the mob and the controversy surrounding efforts to bring justice to the deceased and their descendants through news magazine Soul of a Nation. The episode is also streamed on Hulu. All episodes of Osunsami’s ABC News Podcast Soul of a Nation: Tulsa’s Buried Truth are available now.
The pubcaster will broadcast the documentary Tulsa: The Fire and the Forgotten on Monday at 9 p.m. DeNeen L. Brown of the Washington Post examines the deadly attack and racial atrocity that went unpunished by law, while examining past, present and future issues of reconciliation, reconciliation and reparation through the historical lens of white violence and redress of black resistance investigated. Monday at 10:30 p.m. Tulsa Revisited is a PBS NewsHour Weekend Special that explores the events and themes of The Fire and the Forgotten in the context of history and current social issues. (Check the local schedules for both programs.)
Part 1 of the two-day special, The Legacy of Black Wall Street, which traces the rise of the Greenwood District to the massacre that destroyed the booming 36-block business epicenter, premieres Tuesday at 9 p.m. Part 2 will air on June 8th at 9 p.m.
The two-hour documentation of the cable network Tulsa Burn: The 1921 Race Massacre, executive of NBA All-Star Russell Westbrook, will air at 8 p.m. on Monday. It takes an in-depth, sobering look at the tragic events of a century ago, and focuses on a specific time – from the birth of Black Wall Street to its catastrophic demise over two bloody days and ultimately the fallout and rebuilding.
A + E NETWORKS
The sixth episode of the second season of the Blindspot podcast, titled Blindspot: Tulsa Burning, is available now. Talks with descendants, historians and local activists examine 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 centuries-old period of intense racial conflict, premieres on June 18 to commemorate June 19.
LeBron James and Maverick Carter are among the producers of Dreamland: The Burning of Black Wall Street, premiering on CNN, produced by The SpringHill Company. The documentary is directed and produced by Salima Koroma.