Producers Of Race Riot Mini-Series Come To Tulsa
TULSA, Oklahoma - A dark period in Tulsa's history is getting a national spotlight. Oprah Winfrey's network plans to create a mini-series over the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot. This week producers are in town researching the event.
The 1921 Tulsa Race Riot is described as a violent clash between whites and blacks. It ripped apart a community once known as the "Black Wall Street" which is where some of America's most prominent blacks lived.
"I grew up in Oklahoma City and I had never heard of it. It was not in one of my history books," said Executive Producer, Nancy Miller.
Miller and three other producers are in Tulsa learning more about an incident they say is often swept under the rug.
Co-Executive Producer, Dayna North, said, "It feels too important to us to know this happened in our country and that story has been buried. We feel like it's beyond time to unearth that story."
They pitched the idea of making a two-part mini-series to Oprah's network.
"The Help" star and Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer will play a journalist from Tulsa, who must face the demons of her past.
"This is a fictional story. Our character is fictional, but the events of the Tulsa Race Riot, we want to be as accurate as we can be," Miller said.
For the next couple days, producers and writers will be meeting with people in the community to learn about the riot.
"The authenticity of the mini-series is crucial to hearing these stories and we want to be as authentic as we can," said Co-Executive Producer, Valerie Woods.
Although the riot happened nearly a century ago, producers say racial tensions are still alive in America.
Producer, Kristin Palombo, said, "In order to heal, in order to move forward, we need to acknowledge it, embrace it, take responsibility for it and have conversations."
The writers plan to have a script finished in about three months. Produces hope to film part, or all of the mini-series, in Tulsa.
The producers and writers are hosting a public forum Wednesday at 5 p.m. at Tulsa Community College's Metro Campus. They hope citizens will share their Race Riot stories.