Hi: My name is 'Reggie Johnson
In the mid 1980’s while attending Oral Roberts University in Tulsa Oklahoma, I landed a Reporter job at the “Oklahoma Eagle”; a black owned weekly newspaper. I often visited a restaurant called “the Sea King” to eves drop on conversations that would often lead to news worthy stories.
One day in particular I overheard a group of elderly customers talking about a bombing that took place in Tulsa. Thinking it was a recent event, I inquired about the facts. To my surprise they were speaking of a time sixty years in their past! This event took place when they were but toddlers!
I later discovered that an entire black community was ruthlessly burned to the ground for simply being self- contained and affluent. In fact Booker T. Washington called it the “Negro Wall Street”. This inquiry led to me interviewing countless seniors and hearing shocking stories passed down to them from their parents and some eye witnessed accounts. At that time in the 1980’s it was considered taboo to talk about the well-hidden, media suppressed, atrocity of 1921.
For fear of igniting another riot or massacre, and for my own safety, the seniors practically begged me not to put the story in the newspaper. They said some day when the world was a more receptive audience to that sensational story, I should endeavor to make it known in the media. So I obliged their request and folded my notes until now; the perfect time!
Now there have been documentaries, and a movie made about this story based on limited historical facts documented by a government that didn’t want this told in the first place. I applaud their efforts, but I have stories from the very lips of those that lived this horrible nightmare: The “Tornado Alley Nightmare”. I hope you will help me tell this story to the world so that history will never repeat itself. This is not just a story of racial divide, but a story of racial harmony and devout human love as well! Please read below.
There’s a region in America’s Midwest that brandishes worldwide notoriety for its claim of being the trek of the most violent storms on earth. It is shockingly factual that on countless occasions the combined skies of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Arkansas have spun more than 100 tornadoes in a single day. Appropriately named “Tornado Alley”, twisters in this sector alone account for more weather related deaths and destruction per. storm capita than anywhere else on the globe.
Hundreds of thousands of lives lost and billions of dollars in damages make the sheer mention of “Tornado Alley” a dreaded phrase and offensive statement to nearly all inhabitants of that region. However; as deplorable and despicable as that reference may be; it only pales in comparison to the nightmare that happened in Tulsa, Oklahoma’s black section, on June 1st of 1921.
Another kind of storm of the human endeavor broke out on the North Side of Tulsa that night, whose ominous clouds of hatred and fierce winds of prejudice, blew away forever, the legacy & hope of an entire generation, all because of their sheer success and cultural preeminence.
This storm, slash riot, slash massacre, slash catastrophe, culminated into a carnage leaving more than 10,000 blacks homeless and 300 plus black citizens dead; and now even to this day almost 100 years later; the cries of agony, hurt, and trauma echoes from the graves of the innocent men, women, and children who perished senselessly that night.
Denied the inalienable rights to participate in the white culture to the south; they ardently created their own self-sustained economy. With a population of less than 11 ,000 residents and disenfranchised as a race nationally, the Tulsa blacks built 3, theaters, 4 barber shops, 3 high schools, 4 churches, 4 grocery stores, 3 lawyer offices, 15 doctor offices, 3 cleaners, 3 funeral homes, 2 newspaper companies, 3 drug stores, 2 insurance companies, 4 elementary schools, 4 restaurants, 1 airport with 3 planes, 2 cab companies, 3 night clubs, 2 ice companies, 2 service stations, 2 banks, 1 coal company, 1 plumbing company, 3 clothing stores, 1 college, 2 hotels, a bus company, and many independent services offered individually.
While common logic should have been that any civilized community would have welcomed such a prosperous next -door neighbor, South Tulsans were anything but welcoming. Instead they connived and plotted until they came up with a scheme to arouse the envy and disdain in the masses which ultimately led to the burning and bombing of their fellow American citizens.
The Motion Picture we intend to present to the world is not meant to insight anger, fear, malice, or retaliation, but rather it’s meant to defuse the hypothesis of racial supremacy, genocidal prejudice and stereotypical ignorance, passed down through the generations.
“We must all” learn to live together as brothers and sisters; or we will all perish together as fools’’
…. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
All donations will be spent on production of our movie entitled; "Tornado Alley Nightmare". For example; Cast, Crew, Props, Travel, Lodging, etc.
If our goal is met, we intend to start shooting in November of 2020 and completing the film around August of 2021.
We will post all expenditures on our website above on a monthly basis.
Most of our young actors and actresses are from Back Stage and are eager to start. They fully understand what the telling of this story represents. It would mean the world to us to tell the true story of a people suddenly beat down; who could not tell their own story.
It's not about the MONEY! It's about the HEART. It's about HONOR. It's about DUTY. It's about HUMANITY. And it's about plain old RIGHT!
And you best believe; if we had the funds ourselves; we wouldn't ask for one dime in donations! This however; seems to be the quickest way from point "A" of desiring to do this; and point "B" of doing it!
As for me personally; I'm doing it for the kids. I love them and they've worked so hard for a dream they hope just might come true. Not a dream for riches but a dream for accomplishment.
In addition; I'm doing this for those imprisoned by yesteryear's ghost. For a people who's only crime was to strive against all odds to prosper.
Thank You and God bless you all!
Reggie Johnson Writer/Director
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