HBO Series “Watchmen” Spotlights 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre

Tuesday, October 22nd 2019, 7:09 pm
By: Amy Slanchik

A new HBO series spotlighting the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre is creating conversations across the country.

The first episode of the show, "Watchmen," opens with a violent scene depicted from the massacre, and then moves on to an alternate America set in present day.

There are hundreds of people sharing their thoughts online after watching the episode.

Some said they wondered if the scene was truth or fiction because they had never heard this part of Tulsa's history.

"I was absolutely blown away,” Mechelle Brown said.

Brown, the Greenwood Cultural Center Program Coordinator, watched the episode when it premiered over the weekend.

"It was shocking but it was also educational,” she said. “So there was this feeling of relief, almost, that people are going to learn about this, some for the very first time."

One of those people is a woman from Texas, who tweeted, "My mother is in her 70s and was a history major. She is horrified that she never learned about the Tulsa Massacre. I am in my 40s and had not heard of it either."

A Chicago teacher said on Twitter, "My 8th grade students study the Chicago race riots of 1919, but I'm embarrassed that I never considered teaching the Tulsa Massacre."

Mayor G.T. Bynum chimed in on Twitter too, thanking the show for raising awareness.

Brown encouraged people to visit the Greenwood Cultural Center to learn more. There is a room at the center dedicated to survivors. It's a place where visitors can see their faces and read their stories. 

It's those stories, Brown said, that make her believe what's shown in the episode is historically accurate.

"We know there were planes. Our survivors have said that they were dropping bombs. So we believe their oral histories. We believe their testimonies. They were there, here. They lived through it," she said.

Brown said while the discussion of whether bombs were used has become controversial for some, everyone can still make the effort to learn more about Tulsa's past.

"The information is out there,” Brown said.

The Greenwood Cultural Center offers free guided tours and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Related Story - Archaeologists Finish Scanning Three Sites In Search Of 1921 Mass Graves In Tulsa

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