A screening of “Before They Die,” a documentary chronicling the Tulsa Race Riot will be held Feb., 25 from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Crozier Middle School Auditorium, 161 N. Grevilla Ave., Inglewood.
A reception and discussion accompany the film.
After the Civil War, African Americans were drawn to Oklahoma because of employment opportunities in the oil fields. They prospered, and in about 1908 founded the community of Greenwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma. There was a daily African-American owned newspaper; businesses, excellent schools and banks. The community was so prosperous that it became known as the “Black Wall Street.”
However, Jim Crow, and all its racist tenants were ever present, and jealousy, envy and discrimination reared their ugly heads on June 1, 1921.
During an 18-hour rampage, White mobs, aided–some say–by the police and National Guard, burned Greenwood to the ground including 1,000 homes and most buildings. Three hundred people died, and 10,000 were left homeless.
Before They Die, created by Reginald Turner, CEO of Mportant Films, and Harvard Law Professor Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., is part of The Tulsa Project–a nonprofit foundation to raise awareness of the event and seek restitution for its survivors–tells the Tulsa story in the words of survivors. It also talks about their fight for justice.
In 2004, 151 elderly survivors sought to have their day in court-only to be told that the statue of limitations for any claims had expired.
After the U.S. Supreme Court denied an appeal in 2005, in 2009, Congress introduced a bill to extend the statute of limitations so that the survivors could, at last, seek and achieve justice.
Only 52 survivors are still with us today. For more information (310) 412-8602.