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HBO’s ‘Watchmen’ Premiere Is Centered On One Of The Worst Race Massacres In US History

Source: HBO

The first episode begins with the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921.

Watchmen‘s cinematic universe has made references to different aspects of American history since the film first came out in 2009. In the opening credits of the movie, The Comedian can be seen assassinating John F. Kennedy, and in another scene he and Dr. Manhattan are shown fighting soldiers in Vietnam (helping the U.S. win the Vietnam War).

WATCH: The Official (and Batshit Crazy) Teaser for HBO’s Watchmen Series is Finally Here

In the premiere of HBO’s Watchmen TV series, the episode begins with the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921. Known by other names like the Tulsa race massacre, Greenwood Massacre and the Black Wall Street Massacre, the incident found mobs of white residents attacking black residents and businesses of the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma on May 31 and June 1, 1921.

The riot began as a result of Dick Rowland, a black shoeshiner, being accused of assaulting Sarah Page, a white elevator operator. After being taken into custody, rumors spread that Rowland had been lynched which alarmed black people in Tulsa. Some had arrived at the courthouse Rowland was being held at armed, and shots were fired, resulting in 10 white people being killed and two black people being killed. Once news of the deaths circulated, mob violence broke out.

In the Watchmen series, relatives of victims of the 1921 Tulsa massacre have been granted reparations, known as “Redfordations” in Watchmen after the president in the show, actor Robert Redford.

“This was to the point where we had to build an entirely fictitious Supreme Court. If Redford is elected in ’92, then what was Nixon’s Supreme Court, and what’s Redford’s, and if we’re eventually solving for this thing called the Victims of Racial Violence Act that passes some form of reparations, how did that get passed?” showrunner Damon Lindelof said of the alternate history the series presents.

Since the episode’s premiere, the incident that inspired it has trended on social media, with users bringing awareness to the the Black Wall Street Massacre.

 

Elijah C. Watson

Elijah Watson serves as Okayplayer's News & Culture Editor. When he's not writing he's listening to Sade and crying or watching My Hero Academia with his partner.

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