Few know that Jim Crow America saw a wealthy black community in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Few know that there was a place called “Black Wall Street.“
And very few textbooks detail the destruction of that black community in 1921 — not at the hands of the members of the community as media would later report, but at the fault of a racially-motivated group of white Oklahoma residents who descended on the Greenwood District to mar, kill, and destroy black families and their establishments.
In the end, 10,000 blacks were left homeless, and 35 city blocks composed of 1,256 residences were destroyed by fire. And to circumvent the assault and justify their means, the attackers did two things — first, spread word that the attack was in response to a threat from the wealthiest black community in America and second, wipe the events that occurred on May 21-June 1 1921 from local and national record.
And if history is any indication, it worked. The Tulsa Race Riots have been Oklahoma’s dirty little secret and a stain on America that, if known, could explain current race relations in the heartland and in the nation.
Could the Tulsa Race Riots explain hate crimes spanning 90 years in the region?
Could they be the backbone for the decay and social erosion of the heartland?
Could an event that occurred nearly a century ago, triggered by skin color and oppression, help us understand today’s hate crimes, often labeled as “accidents” or justified by an unreasonable fear of young black men and women fueled by the same spurious media coverage that justified the destruction of Black Wall Street?
And two filmmakers, dedicated to unearthing America’s hidden crime against its own people, have set out to explore the media’s coverage of hate crimes spanning 90 years in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The film, Hate Crimes In The Heartland, reveals the extremes of racial tension in America’s heartland, told through the eyes of survivors of the 1921 Race Riot and the 2012 “Good Friday Murders.”
Through the personal accounts of survivors, witnesses, journalists, and lawmakers, Hate Crimes in the Heartland enriches the public understanding of the underlying tension in America’s heartland, exposing injustices that occurred and giving a voice to those whose perspectives would otherwise remain unheard.
GlobalGrind and Hate Crimes in the Heartland producers Rachel Lyon and Pi-Isis Ankhra are partnering to bring to light America’s holocaust in an attempt to discuss and tackle current race relations in America.
Join us on GlobalGrind.com every Thursday in March to engage in a national conversation on race through the lens of two distinct hate crimes in Tulsa, OK in 1921 and again in 2012.
For more information on Hate Crimes In The Heartland, click here.
To follow the producers as they embark on a national tour to explore the foremost social justice issues through the media, with stories that inform and inspire audiences and promote social progress, click here.