In 1921, an armed white mob invaded the Greenwood neighbourhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma, attacking black residences and businesses. Over the course of roughly two days, the once-bustling 35-block section of the city was burned to the ground. In its heyday, Greenwood was home to one of the largest concentrations of African–American-owned enterprises and wealth in the U.S., one of only a few black areas that managed to thrive economically after the end of the Civil War and into the 20th century. But in that violent aftermath, hundreds of black citizens were killed, thousands were left homeless, and many were arrested. The exact numbers are still unknown.
Widely considered one of the most brutal and shameful chapters in America’s past, that wrenching Tulsa race massacre finds itself recreated within the first 10 minutes of the premiere episode of Watchmen, HBO’s latest television series, built around a modern continuation of the landmark 1980s comic books of the same name.
Created and developed by superstar TV producer Damon Lindelof (previously, he helmed the drama series Lost and The Leftovers), the show borrows elements from the legendary 12-issue miniseries, such as some fan-favourite characters and its setting in an alternative reality that closely examines the fraught state of the contemporary world through the lens of superhero tropes. Flash forward to Lindelof’s 2019 Watchmen, which picks up over thirty years after the events of the original comic and contains a completely remixed narrative with a new and disturbing conflict at its forefront.
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