M-A hosts screening of Tulsa race riot documentary this week | News | Almanac Online |


M-A hosts screening of Tulsa race riot documentary this week

M-A grad produced film about one of the 'worst incidents of racial violence in U.S. history'

A film screening at Menlo-Atherton High School on Thursday, Feb. 6, offers the opportunity to learn about a little-known chapter of U.S. history.

Reggie Turner, an M-A and Stanford University graduate, will speak about his 2008 film, "Before They Die!" — about the 1921 Tulsa race riot, according to an Eventbrite invitation for the event.

During the riot, white residents attacked black residents and businesses in the predominantly black Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma, leaving hundreds dead and thousands homeless, according to a History.com article.

In 2018, an Oklahoma commission tasked with studying the incident renamed it the Tulsa race massacre.

The film chronicles the stories of the riot survivors and their quest for justice.

Turner contacted M-A English teacher Sherinda Bryant about coming "home to M-A" to screen the film and talk about his experiences at M-A as a teen, Bryant said.

The former student made the film after meeting survivors of the massacre — who longed for the incident to be part of the historical record — during a 2003 trip to Tulsa, according to an article in TulsaPeople Magazine.

The massacre remains one of the "worst incidents of racial violence in U.S. history" and is one of the least known, since news reports were quashed, the History.com article states.

Turner will also discuss growing up in East Palo Alto during the 1950s and 1960s, which he found to be similar to the Greenwood neighborhood — both were all-black communities because of segregation, according to TulsaPeople.

Turner found that he and the Tulsa survivors also experienced "extreme cases of racism," the TulsaPeople article states. During Turner's time at M-A, there were race riots and bomb threats, and black students were frustrated that no bus would take them to school, Turner told TulsaPeople.

There will be a "meet and greet" with Turner at 6 p.m. in the school's performing arts center, followed by a screening of the 92-minute film at 7 p.m.

Turner will also meet with students that day during the school's flex time and lunch breaks in the M-A library.

The M-A Black Student Union and Turner are hosting the event.

Tickets are free for students, $10 for general admission, and $20 for a ticket that includes admission and a DVD of the film. Proceeds from the event will benefit the families of Tulsa race riot survivors.

For tickets, go here.

For more on the film, go here.


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