This hesitancy has led race relations to continue to simmer through the last century. While the recent trial for the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer has brought the country’s tenuous race relations to the forefront, the recognition of its past sins and the prolonged generational impact has been critically brushed aside, glossed over, and ignored while the names of those impacted by it continue to grow. And as cases of state-sanctioned violence by officers gain attention throughout the country, Tulsa: The Fire and the Forgotten focuses on those within the state who are preparing to commemorate the upcoming centennial while still uncovering its totality and reckon with its ugly past.
“…a powerful testament to those who fight to keep these stories alive…”
Silvers sits down with civil and human rights activists, community leaders, state representatives, and victims’ relatives who are still uncovering truths physically and metaphorically, from forensic anthropological digs of the actual site to Oklahoma University Library exhibits of the event displaying actual photos of the devastation. Several militia groups descended upon the city in counter-protest in the wake of the Black Lives Matter marches. Silvers juxtaposes footage of heavily armed white faces staring down weaponless peaceful protesters, providing a sinister feeling of deja vu for its residents. It’s harrowing and impactful. Former Tulsa Police Chief Drew Diamond stated racially biased policing was a problem when he entered the force in 1969 and remains one today. “The police are in ‘warrior mode’ when they enter parts of Tulsa… and they are going to look for the war.”
Tulsa: The Fire and the Forgotten is timely not only for the event it covers but for a country in which a large swath of its population confuses patriotism with blind allegiance. It is also a country that refuses to reckon with its ugly past. It also serves as a powerful testament to those who fight to keep these stories alive for more to hear so that one day Tulsa, and the country, will have no choice but to confront the fires it set and recall the names of those forgotten.
"…harrowing and impactful..."