OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A new film about the legacy of the Tulsa Race Massacre, produced by the OKC Thunder Films, will be a main feature during the deadCenter Film Festival.

Seeds of Greenwood will premiere 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 10 at Scissortail Park in downtown Oklahoma City, playing as the main feature of deadCenter’s Friday Night Family Frolic.

The film is free and open to the public. Rumble the Bison, Thunder Drummers and Thunder Girls will be on hand for the premiere.

This is the fifth consecutive year for OKC Thunder Films to partner with deadCenter and debut a film at the annual festival, according to a Thunder news release.

Seeds of Greenwood explores how the current generation is being planted and nurtured within the fertile soil of Tulsa’s historic Greenwood District, a century after the Tulsa Race Massacre.

The film documents the birth of Thunder Fellows, the organization’s after-school program, and the journeys of students in the inaugural class.

The Thunder and CAA Sports created Thunder Fellows after the murder of George Floyd and just before the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre.

“Thunder Fellows’ curriculum equips Black high school students in Tulsa with knowledge, skills and connections that can lead to careers in professional sports, entertainment and technology,” said Cedric Ikpo, Thunder Fellows executive director. “It’s exciting to share on film what we’ve seen every day in this first year – how Thunder Fellows is making a difference for these kids and the community.” 

Photo goes with story
A tribute to Black Wall Street. Image KFOR

OKC Thunder Films collaborated with Notis Studios, a Black-owned film and music production company in northeast Oklahoma City.

Notis brought on local talent to compose and record four original songs for the film.

“Their songs Greenwood RoadsGood MorningLook Out World, and My Life Be Like have a strong rhythm and blues vibe with compelling lyrics that capture the resilient nature of the Greenwood District and the promise of the Thunder Fellows students,” the news release states.

All four songs will soon be available for streaming and download on Spotify, Apple Music and other services.

Thunder personnel will announce next week details about a public screening of Seeds of Greenwood in Tulsa.

The Seeds of Tulsa trailer is available on YouTube.

In this 1921 image provided by the Library of Congress, smoke billows over Tulsa, Okla. For decades, when it was discussed at all, the killing of hundreds of people in a prosperous black business district in 1921 was referred to as the Tulsa race riot. Under new standards developed by teachers for approaching the topic, students are encouraged to consider the differences between labeling it a “massacre” instead of a “riot,” as it is still commemorated in state laws. (Alvin C. Krupnick Co./Library of Congress via AP)
In this 1921 image provided by the Library of Congress, smoke billows over Tulsa, Okla. For decades, when it was discussed at all, the killing of hundreds of people in a prosperous black business district in 1921 was referred to as the Tulsa Race Massacre. Under new standards developed by teachers for approaching the topic, students are encouraged to consider the differences between labeling it a “massacre” instead of a “riot,” as it is still commemorated in state laws. (Alvin C. Krupnick Co./Library of Congress via AP)

The Tulsa Race Massacre began on May 31, 1921, after a young Black teenager named Dick Rowland was accused of sexually assaulting a young white woman named Sarah Page.

A white mob laid siege to Tulsa’s Greenwood District, a prosperous Black community referred to as Black Wall Street. The mob killed and wounded scores of Black community members and looted and set fire to homes and businesses.

Tulsa Race Massacre
Tulsa Race Massacre. Courtesy: Oklahoma Historical Society

The 35-block district that had boomed with hundreds of thriving black businesses was reduced to charred ruins. Amid the destruction, hundreds of Black residents were killed and 800 others injured.

The 18 hours of unfathomable horror became mostly forgotten, and the Greenwood District, a shining beacon of Black prosperity and emergence during a time of immense racial oppression, never fully recovered.

Historians believe as many as 300 people were killed in the massacre.