NBA star Russell Westbrook will produee a docuseries about the 1921 Tulsa race massacre for eOne’s Blackfin, the company announced Tuesday.
Titled “Terror In Tulsa: The Rise And Fall of Black Wall Street,” the series will be directed by Stanley Nelson and will explore the events of the May 1921 massacre, which is identified as the single worst incident of racial violence in American history.
The project is timed the 100th anniversary of the massacre and will include input from the Tulsa Historical Society & Museum, The John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation, the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission, and the Historic Vernon AME Church, among others.
“Spending 11 years in Oklahoma opened my eyes to the rich and sordid history of the state,” said Westbrook in a statement. “When I learned about the heartbreaking events that happened in Tulsa nearly 100 years ago, I knew this was a story I wanted to tell. It’s upsetting that the atrocities that transpired then, are still so relevant today. It’s important we uncover the buried stories of African Americans in this country. We must amplify them now more than ever if we want to create change moving forward.”
“I am so very honored to partner with Russell Westbrook and Blackfin to direct ‘Terror In Tulsa,'” added Nelson. “There is no story more poignant or relevant to the racially charged events unfolding before us today, the frustration, the outrage, the outcry for justice in the wake of the George Floyd killing. The story of Tulsa reveals a significant chapter in the American experience leading up to this moment. It is a story that needs to be treated with dignity, grounded in cultural authenticity, and portrayed with historical accuracy in order to truly understand the impact it has had on our nation. From the cover-ups of the massacre in 1921, to the uncovering of the mass graves left in its wake, the story of Tulsa is the harsh example of not only the history of violence against black people in America, but also the great American sin of burying it out of sight, and pretending that it never happened. For many, it is hard to believe such an atrocity occurred. For others, these atrocities are simply part of the American journey.”
Nelson’s credits include the 2019 Sundance feature “Miles Davis: Birth of Cool,” as well as a number of other documentaries chronicling the African-American experience such as “The Story of Access,” “Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black College and Universities” and “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution.”
He has won a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, five Primetime Emmy Awards and lifetime achievement awards from the National Academy of Television Arts Sciences. He received the National Medal in the Humanities from President Barack Obama in 2013.