Russell Westbrook's documentary 'Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Race Massacre' will premiere Sunday, May 30, at 8 p.m. on the History Channel. Westbrook, who executive produced the documentary, joined Emmy-Award winner director Stanley Nelson and Peabody and duPont-Award winner Marco Williams in the film's creation.
The History Channel aimed to coincide the documentary with the 100-year anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, one of the worst acts of racial violence in American history.
"The Tulsa Race Massacre was not something I was taught about in school or in any of my history books,” Westbrook, who played for the Oklahoma City Thunder from 2008-2020, said in a release. "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 deserves 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 Tulsa Race Massacre occurred from May 31-June 1, 1921 and was caused by a white mob that attacked businesses and homes in the Greenwood District, a predominantly Black district in segregated Tulsa. At the time, Greenwood was the wealthiest Black community in the United States and known as “Black Wall Street.”
Estimates show the riots left about 10,000 Black citizens homeless, with property damage that amounted to more than $1.5 million at the time. Hundreds of people died in the massacre, which had long been one of the least publicized racial atrocities in United States’ history. HBO shows Watchmen and Lovecraft Country both centered plot points around the massacre when they aired in 2019 and 2020 respectively.
Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Race Massacre premieres Sunday, May 30, at 8 p.m. on the History Channel.