On Sept. 30, the groundbreaking docuseries “Rebuilding Black Wall Street” made its debut. And it is a one-of-a-kind offering.
What Is Black Wall Street?
Black Wall Street, situated in the Greenwood District of Tulsa, was a vibrant hub of Black-owned businesses and financial prosperity during the 1920s. It thrived as a symbol of Black entrepreneurship and economic success.
However, tragically, in the early morning of June 1, 1921, it was subjected to a devastating act of racism. According to the Tulsa Historical Society and Museum, white rioters looted and set fire to Greenwood, causing widespread destruction. The violence continued for 24 hours, destroying 35 city blocks. Over 800 people were treated for injuries. Initial reports listed at least 36 deaths.
Historians now believe the death toll may have been as high as 300. This dark chapter in history is a stark reminder of the intense prejudice and hostility African Americans faced in America during that era—a nasty blot in the annals of history.
A Resilient People
African Americans are ingenious and resilient. It is undeniable that perseverance is embedded in their DNA. The very existence of Black Wall Street stands as a testament to what is achievable when this community harnesses its collective talents, skills, and determination to pursue its vision. Nevertheless, for an extended period, what was once known as Black Wall Street has existed as a historical model and a symbol of inspiration. This is no longer the case. This new OWN series will capture the revival of Black Wall Street. And that is astonishing.
“Rebuilding Black Wall Street:” The Docuseries
“Rebuilding Black Wall Street” is a six-episode documentary series on the OWN network. And the charismatic Morris Chestnut will serve as host. Unlike many such series, this one’s format is unique. Fundamentally, it is a renovation documentary focusing on the ongoing reconstruction efforts in the Greenwood District of Tulsa. However, that is only a microcosm of what this show offers. “Rebuilding Black Wall Street” will not merely showcase the physical renovations. Instead, it delves deep, capturing the heart and soul of the revitalization of this historic site.
One notable aspect of the series is that many enterprising entrepreneurs leading the restoration efforts are descendants of the original Black Wall Street residents. So, as viewers, “we are granted a unique opportunity to witness the physical and emotional challenges inherent to large-scale construction.” Furthermore, all this is done via a journey alongside those whose legacy is tied up in the project. What a time to be a part of history in the making.
A Prelude To Something Special
With “Rebuilding Black Wallstreet” legacy and promise intermarry. And Sept. 26 marked a special event as a precursor to the series premiere. The executive producers and creators Ri-Karlo Handy and Karra Duncan stood as moderators at the event. As noted, “The attendees included cast members and descendants of the Greenwood District, which added a personal touch to the celebration.” Described as nothing short of remarkable, the event garnered praise and admiration from those in attendance.
In an unprecedented fashion, people from all corners of the globe will have the opportunity to engage in the revival of something significant. They will witness a resounding testament to the regenerative potential of what once existed. FM Hip-Hop is here for it all.
So, for those who have not yet had the chance to experience “Rebuilding Black Wall Street,” the first episode is now available for streaming on OWN.
Written by Renae Richardson