Rise Again: Tulsa & The Red Summer is a documentary about the Tulsa Race Massacre that took place in 1921. Director Dawn Porter follows Washington Post journalist DeNeen Brown who investigates the origins of the violence the discovery of mass graves. Brown interviews descendants of the massacre and members of the Elaine Legacy Center who see the archaeologists dig up the graves in the Oaklawn Cemetary. It is revealed that the horrible event started after a young Black man named Dick Rowland was accused of disrespecting a white woman elevator operator. Mobs of white people eventually went to the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and burned it to the ground as retaliation for Rowland’s alleged attack on Sarah Page. At the time, this was the wealthiest Black area in the country and was also known as the Black Wall Street. By the time the National Guard ended the carnage, 300 people were dead, 183 injured, 10,000 were homeless and millions of dollars in damage had permanently destroyed the neighborhood.
Porter and Brown deliver a painful history lesson that just recently became known in mainstream media after years of it being covered up by the state’s authorities and historians. They also briefly address the idea of reparations and Tulsa’s current mayor G.T. Bynum shares his opinion. Rise Again is a good introduction to the Tulsa Race Massacre and another historical example of America’s longstanding problem with the issue of race.
Rise Again is currently available via Hulu.