Entertainment Weekly announced Thursday that for her cable channel OWN, Oprah Winfrey is developing a two-part miniseries about the 1921 Oklahoma Riots that claimed the lives of up to 300 people. A New York Times story on the little-known historical event describes “a mob of white men” with “guns firing” burning a “once-thriving black community … to the ground.”
The Times reports that although the event occurred over 90 years ago, “efforts to secure recognition and compensation have produced a mixed record of success.”
Oprah’s mini-series will be titled “Tulsa” and star Octavia Spencer, who won a Supporting Oscar for “The Help.” She will play a journalist investigating the race riots.
Late last year the politically and racially-polarizing Oprah produced a racial uproar after she used her national and worldwide platform to accuse a nameless Swiss shop girl of racism. The story blew up to a point where the country of Switzerland felt it needed to apologize. After the shop girl went public and accused Oprah of outright lying, rather than show the kind of outrage you would expect after being a branded a liar by someone you believe was racist, the billionaire media mogul backed off her claim.
In the aftermath, many believed Oprah had exaggerated or outright manufactured a race hoax to gin up publicity for her struggling television network and new movie, “The Butler.”
Once her story started to come apart, though, the mainstream media was as eager as Oprah to drop the matter. But questions remain unanswered – even if one of the most powerful women in the world is never pressed to answer them.
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