As Tulsa came together in remembrance of 100 years since the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, Circle Cinema was honored to work with the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission and host two free sold-out screenings of the new History Channel documentary Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. The two-hour documentary explored the causes of the Massacre that saw white mobs kill more than 300 people while razing the 35 city blocks of Tulsa’s ‘Black Wall Street’ Greenwood District. This was juxtaposed with the ongoing search for mass graves of the victims across Tulsa while the survivors and advocates continue to push for proper education about the Massacre and push for the city to establish a fund for reparations.
The film, produced by NBA superstar and former Oklahoma City Thunder player Russell Westbrook and directed by Peabody and Emmy-winner Stanley Nelson and duPont Award-winner Marco Williams, was shown on the big screen in advance of the broadcast premiere on Sunday May 30, 2021. The screenings began with a special video introduction by the directors as they discussed the role films like this play in the healing process for Tulsa and as an educational tool for future generations.
The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission also brought together local activists to continue the discussion after the film with a panel titled From the Ashes. Panelists included Reverend Dr. Robert Turner (Historic Vernon Chapel AME Church), Brenda Nails-Alford (descendant of Race Massacre survivors), J. Kavin Ross (Greenwood Tribune editor), and Vanessa Adams-Harris (Outreach and Alliances at the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation). The panel was moderated by Ashley Philippsen with the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission. The emotional and productive discussion lasted more than thirty minutes, with many guests leaving with an empowered feeling about how they can help work towards a truly inclusive Tulsa. A video recording of the panel will be available to watch at a later date on Circle Cinema’s Youtube channel.