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Explore the history of racial tensions in Tulsa, the home of the "Good Friday Murders" and the most violent race riot in history.
Explore the history of racial tensions in Tulsa, the home of the "Good Friday Murders" and the most violent race riot in history.
31 backers pledged $10,356 to help bring this project to life.

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Tulsa: Hate Crime Capital is a groundbreaking exploration of the media's coverage of hate crimes spanning 90 years in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The film reveals the extremes of racial tension in America's heartland, told through the eyes of survivors of the 1921 Race Riot and the "Good Friday Murders" of 2012.At a time when racial tensions in America have never been higher[1] and new media tools are more diverse than ever, these issues are of the foremost relevance to America’s social fabric.

The tragic events in Tulsa deserve in-depth historical and social analysis to explain the significance of each moment and clearly illuminate the path of racial unrest as it develops into violence and of denial as it foments into concealment, blocking the path toward resolution and healing. Tulsa: Hate Crime Capital will scrutinize American society’s racialized context for interpreting facts in the media – one which values white lives more than black lives.

Through the personal stories of survivors, journalists, witnesses and lawmakers, Tulsa: Hate Crime Capital seeks to enrich the public understanding of the underlying racial tension in America’s heartland, expose the injustices that have occurred, and give a voice to those individuals whose perspectives would otherwise remain unheard and unknown. This project embraces the mission of exploring the foremost social justice issues through the media, with stories that inform and inspire audiences, and promote social progress.


[1] According to a 2012 Newsweek poll, 60% of Americans believe that race relations have deteriorated during President Obama’s term in office.

Risks and challenges

The challenges of the project are that we have to follow a current murder trial. Wherever we are on the funding we have to continue to get to Tulsa to continue filming. The other challenge we face is to get to the survivors of 1921 riot while they are still living, and they are dwindling. Another important challenge is to keep Tulsa focused as an example of the national situation and to make it relevant to people who live in all 50 states, broadcasts and festivals, these tensions are not simply a local problem. Doing education and outreach is crucial. This project could deal with how we prosecute hate crimes. Our plan is to have regional screenings across the nation in order to educate community, religious leaders, academics and student as well as law enforcement officials.

This project is the 65 documentary produced by Rachel with extensive work in law, race and human rights. She is is a prolific documentary filmmaker whose previous social justice projects include Race to Execution, Juror Number Six, Shadow Over Tibet, The Glory and the Power, and the Emmy Award-winning FRONTLINE program, Men Who Molest. She has produced documentary features for PBS, NBC, CNN, National Geographic and the History Channel. Ms. Lyon is the CEO of Lioness Media Arts and currently serves as professor and artist-in-residence at Northern Kentucky University.

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- (60 days)