Photos: Black Public Media
NEW YORK (October 2, 2023) — Descended from the Promised Land: The Legacy of Black Wall Street, by Nailah Jefferson, begins streaming Monday, October 16, as the newest episode of Black Public Media’s online series AfroPoP Digital Shorts. The film revisits the tragedy of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre through the eyes of descendants of business owners in Tulsa’s Greenwood District. It will be available for audiences nationwide to stream on the Black Public Media (BPM) YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/@BlackPublicMedia.
Jefferson, a New Orleans based filmmaker whose Donyale Luna: Supermodel, about the trailblazing Black fashion model premiered last month on Max, focuses her lens on Greenwood in this latest historical documentary. Noted as America’s “Black Wall Street,” the neighborhood predated Oklahoma’s statehood and, as the most prosperous African American district in the nation with thriving Black-owned businesses, was seen as a promised land for Black Americans. The decades-long prosperity came to a sudden halt in the summer of 1921 when white Oklahomans attacked Greenwood’s businesses and residents, wiping out the community in a deadly, three-day massacre.
Through intimate interviews with Byron Ghalani Crenshaw, Jacqueline Blocker and Michelle Blocker, the descendants of Greenwood entrepreneurs and residents who witnessed the tragedy, the film asks viewers to ponder: If the Tulsa Race Massacre had never happened, would Black Wall Street have influenced the entire nation? One hundred years after the tragedy, the descendants reflect on the emotional, financial and psychological devastation faced by their ancestors and subsequent generations. They also explore ways they can help the Tulsa community rebuild and restrengthen the spirit of Black Wall Street for a new generation.
Created and developed by BPM as an offshoot of its award-winning documentary series AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange, AfroPoP Digital Shorts brings viewers film shorts about life, culture, history, art and more from across the African Diaspora in documentary and narrative format.
“In telling stories that are a part of American history, but all too often ignored, films like Nailah Jefferson’s Descended from the Promised Land epitomize the essence and vitality of independent filmmaking that we at Black Public Media seek to promote at all levels,” said BPM Director of Programs Denise A. Greene. “While we are grateful to have some survivors of the Tulsa Massacre still with us as centenarians, recent events have shown that efforts to silence their voices remain. Through film, we can ensure that their stories are known for generations to come.”
An official selection of the Social Justice Film Festival, DOC NYC, the New Orleans Film Festival, the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival and the American Black Film Festival, Descended from the Promised Land: The Legacy of Black Wall Street is a production of TRANSFORM FILMS and ODYSSEY IMPACT®, INC. To find out more about the national social impact campaign that Odyssey Impact is leading for the film, visit https://www.odyssey-impact.org/our-campaigns/descended/.
Descended from the Promised Land begins streaming as part of AfroPoP Digital Shorts on the Black Public Media YouTube channel on October 16. The film joins others in the series including Portal, by Rodney Evans; Midnight Oil, by Bilal Motley; Lakeside’s Treasure, by Rasheed Peters; and The Black Disquisition, by Quincy G. Ledbetter. New episodes premiere on the third Monday of each month.
To learn more about AfroPoP Digital Shorts, visit https://blackpublicmedia.org/afropop/ or follow BPM on YouTube at @BlackPublicMedia.
ABOUT BLACK PUBLIC MEDIA:
Black Public Media (BPM) supports the development of visionary content creators and distributes stories about the global Black experience to inspire a more equitable and inclusive future. For more than 40 years, BPM has addressed the needs of unserved and underserved audiences. BPM continues to address historical, contemporary, and systemic challenges that traditionally impede the development and distribution of Black stories. For more information, visit blackpublicmedia.org and follow BPM on Instagram and Facebook and @BLKPublicMedia on Twitter.