So… “Watchmen”. Before watching the show I had no prior knowledge. I just knew Regina King was playing a superhero and I’m like, “That’s cool. I’ll watch it.”
King plays Angela Abraham a retired cop, part-time baker, and full-time superhero. The episode is fast pace from the beginning. It gives snippets of different parts of the story and it leaves the audience wanted to know more. The show leaves your jaw dropped by the end. While watching the first episode, I put my phone down and I was glued to the screen.
I was shocked from the moment the episode started because I didn’t know the opening scene would be a depiction of Black Wall Street being destroyed. Yes, the show opened with the Tulsa Race Riot. After scrolling through Twitter for some time it became very clear that there is a large group of people that have no idea what the Tulsa Race Riot was.
So, here’s a little history on a defining moment that isn’t taught in history class. According to History.com, a young Black man, Dick Rowland, was riding the elevator minding his business when a White woman screamed. Accusations that he sexually assaulted her soon spread and the next morning he was arrested. The jail Rowland was being held was met by a mob of armed White terrorists who also lived in Tulsa and they demanded Rowland to be released.
Later, seventy-five armed Black men met the 1,500 terrorists to defend Rowland; shots were fired. From May 31, 1921 to June 1, 1921 hundreds of Black businesses including churches, schools, and hospitals were burned to the ground. Over a thousand houses were destroyed and an estimated 300 Black people were killed. The National Guard eventually made their way to Greenwood where the destruction took place. They helped put out some fires, but they also arrested many Black Tulsans.
There was a strong effort by city officials to cover up what happened to Black Wall Street and city officials’ hand in providing White Tulsans with weapons to use against the Black Tulsans. There was no public memorial service or ceremony held for the innocent Black Tulsans that lost their lives to hate. The Tulsa Tribune removed the front-page story that accused Rowland of sexually assaulting the White woman. Scholars later determined police and state militia archives about the riot were missing.
The show ended with a wild cliffhanger. That’s when I knew exactly how I would spend my Sundays. I like the light it shined on the Tulsa Race Riot because it’s rarely talked about. Now, it has traction and it shows how Black people united during a period when the country was against them and built their own way of living. Watching King and a bunch of cops beating White supremacists up made me proud.
Catch “Watchmen” on HBO on Sunday evenings at 7:00 CST. Watch the trailer below.
By Triniti Maye, Sophomore, Saint Xavier University