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Docuseries highlights resiliency of Tulsa's Greenwood District

Photo by Mckenzie Richmond.
Photo by Mckenzie Richmond.
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A new docuseries recognizes the resiliency of the historic Greenwood District.

The first episode of the “Greenwood Avenue Project” premieres in Tulsa at Circle Cinema on Friday, then it will hit big screens nationwide.

The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre destroyed an entire community, but members say their story has been suppressed for over a century.

“The history of it has been hidden for 101 years," said Cleo Harris, a Tulsa Race Massacre descendant. “If we continue to whitewash and act like everything hasn't happened, then we as a people lose our identity, our culture, our heritage.”

“It's put some necessary light on a very atrocious situation," said George Thomas, another Tulsa Race Massacre descendant. “As well as an extremely positive one with the advent of Black Wall Street.”

This docuseries gives Greenwood another platform to tell its story.

“We just want to people to know that Greenwood was more than just the massacre,” said Terry Baccus, filmmaker and Tulsa native. “There was resilience of the people there, they rebuilt again, they had life in Greenwood and it went on to ever renewal and eminent domain.”

Some are calling the series eye-opening.

“America really doesn't want to admit the atrocities that have been caused upon African Americans,” said Harris. “I believe that in part it will bring truth of the lies from the young man in the elevator to who started this Race Massacre or Race Riots.”

The story is told through the voices of Greenwood’s born and bred.

“Those people are historians in their own right,” said Baccus. “They tell the story of how they grew up in Greenwood, where they bought candy and what park they played in, who was their teacher and and who they talk to, with some of the older survivors over the years.”

“My father was a young man when that took place,” said Thomas. “The things that he shared was that he felt that there was jealousy about the economic success to that we were sustaining. When the riot transpired, they came right here first and started tearing stuff up.”

After premiering in Tulsa, the film will air in African American museums across the country.

“Let it be known to the world that Greenwood was a real place and not a fairytale,” said Baccus. “It was a real place that really happened.”

The docuseries will be screen May 26-June 1.

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You can buy tickets to the Tulsa screening or see the preview of the documentary at the Greenwood Ave Project website.

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