Renowned filmmaker and writer, Dream Hampton (Surviving R. Kelly, I am Ali), is set to direct and executive produce Black Wall Street, a limited documentary series about the Tulsa Race Massacre, The Hollywood Reporter confirms. With today marking the 99th anniversary of one of the most heinous acts of racial violence America has witnessed, the Tulsa Race Massacre began on May 31 of 1921 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
What left close to 300 African Americans of the prominent Greenwood area or “Black Wall Street” slain, the race riot was incited when Dick Rowland, an African American shoe shiner, was accused of assaulting a white elevator operator of a building in downtown Tulsa.
In retaliation, the Tulsa Tribune published an article stating that Rowland attempted to sexually assault Rowland and a lynching was planned for his indiscretions that evening. Mobs of black and white individuals populated the courthouse where Rowland was being tried, thus igniting the riot.
More than 1,400 black homes and businesses were burned, and 10,000 people were left homeless and displaced while the city was set ablaze.
The horrendous events that took place on this day 99 years ago have failed to be mentioned in most history books. Oklahoma is included in the scant few, recently announcing in early 2020 that it would begin incorporating the riots history in statewide school curriculum. Yet, Hampton reassures that the Black community of Tulsa, Oklahoma will never forget that intricate piece of their history, and she is inspired to tell it.
“Black people from Tulsa have refused to let the Greenwood District Massacre be erased from history,” she said on Variety. “I’m so inspired by their persistence to lift up the stories of what North Tulsa was before the massacre.”
She also added “As the centennial approaches, they are still searching for a mass grave they believe contains the bodies of the victims of the Black Wall Street Massacre, and they are still demanding reparations. I’m inspired to learn this history from them, and to tell their ongoing story.”
Ever more prevalent in the socio-political wake and protest surrounding the racial injustice of George Floyd’s death, president and commercial director of Cineflix Productions (I Was Lorena Bobbitt, Property Brothers), J.C. Mills, believes that now is an opportune time to begin to correct social wrongs. He said in a quote on The Hollywood Reporter “if the recent tragic stories of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery have shown us anything, it’s that there’s still much work to be done.”
While Black Wall Street is being distributed by Cineflix Rights, a broadcaster has not been announced for the series, Variety claims. There are also no details regarding Black Wall Street’s premiere or individuals that will be involved in the making of the limited series.