OWN to Mark 100th Anniversary of Tulsa Race Massacre With Two-Part Special

Tulsa Race Massacre (Credit: Tulsa City-County Library and Tulsa Historical Society)

OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network will air a two-part special in June to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre.

The OWN Spotlight event titled The Legacy of Black Wall Street follows the rise of Black Wall Street in Oklahoma’s Greenwood District up until the 1921 massacre that destroyed the 36-block business district, the network said in a press release.

The story will be told through the lives of five individuals who were there in the early 1900s — Loula Williams, Augusta Stradford, Dr. Andrew C Jackson, Drusilla Dunjee Houston and A.J. Smitherman, according to OWN. “Interlocked with the words, stories and images of these early pioneers are the words and stories of the descendants and present-day activists of the Greenwood era: Venita Cooper, Jerica Wortham, Charity Marcus, Dr. Jabraan Pasha, and Raven Majia Williams, who each embody the entrepreneurial spirits of their ancestors.”

“On May 31, 1921, a Black man named Dick Rowland was imprisoned for allegedly assaulting a White woman,” according to the Library of Congress. By the next day, the Greenwood District had been burned to the ground by an angry White mob. The Tulsa Race Massacre led to as many as 300 deaths and millions of dollars in property damage in one of the worst instances of racial violence in U.S. history.

“This is a significant moment in our history that will not be forgotten. We will continue to amplify Black excellence and resilience on OWN as we make strides on the road to healing,” OWN President Tina Perry said in a statement.

OWN Spotlight: The Legacy of Black Wall Street is produced by Trailblazer Studios. Executive producers include Ashleigh Di Tonto and Jeff Lanter. Deborah Riley Draper serves as director and producer.

The special premieres on Tuesday, June 1, and Tuesday, June 8 on the Discovery+ streaming service and will then air in primetime the same evenings on OWN at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.