About the Film


Mportant Films is dedicated to “Keeping Our Stories Alive,” African American history that otherwise might not be told.

“Before They Die” our first major documentary, produced in conjunction with Tulsa Virtual Media Partners, LLC, is focused on telling the story of the survivors of the 1921 Tusla Race Riot in their quest for justice and to let the world know about their story. The documentary follows the Survivors, and their legal team headed by Professor Charles Ogletree, through the court system all the way to the Supreme Court and on to the US Congress.

Before there was 9/11, before there was Oklahoma City, before there was the internment of the Japanese Americans during World Word II, before there was Rosewood (Florida), there was the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot. The Tulsa Race Riot Survivors have survived all of this history, but have yet to be compensated for what they lost in the riots. They are still seeking justice Before They Die.

23 responses to “About the Film

  1. VGJ

    After previewing the trailer, I am anxious to see this documentary. I had heard of neither the Tulsa Race Riots nor “Black Wall Street” until I came to Oklahoma. I applaud the efforts of many in sharing this very important event with the world. Perhaps a feature movie, starring the likes of Denzel Washington and Ophrah Winfrey, will follow next.

  2. Janis Porter

    How can I help?

  3. Aarian Punter

    I remember hearing this story for the first time at Absyninnian Church several years ago. I was so inspired by the passion of Mr. Ogltree and the other attorneys that I wanted to go to law school. I recievecd my Masters last year and will be applying to Law School next year. I will continue to keep the Tusla story in my heart. I am pressing on with my educuation as a salute to those who survived and died in that Riot in 1920.

  4. Rischa Slade

    I am so proud to know that people who I respect are working on something so important. Keep the faith.
    I have sent this on to others who I am sure will be equally as interested.

  5. D.S. Bailey

    I am an author who, while performing my research on the East St. Louis race riots of 1917, ran across the story of the Tulsa race riots of 1921.

    ‘Lest we forget people. Let’s use this information for inspiration for our futures!

  6. Doris Jacobs

    Extraordinary documentary! This material presents an excellent portrayal of a mostly-overlooked demonstration of American justice denied to, and destined to be buried with, Black folk who survived the 1921 Riot of Tulsa–but for the unrelenting diligence and dedication of civil rights activist attorneys such as internationally-respected Harvard Law School Professor Charles Ogletree who heads up the legal team for these survivors….”Before They Die.”
    Many thanks, MPORTANT!!!

  7. Kory Jackson

    Thank you Reggie for doing this film. Our history has been projected by many different media. I applaude you as a Black Filmmaker in establishing Tulsa Riots as a significant event in this countries history.

  8. Shannon Robinson

    I attended the screening of this amazing documentary on October 19 at the PAC in Tulsa. I found out about the Tulsa Race Riot by accident a few years ago, as this is not taught in our schools. When I researched and read about the horrors that the citizens of the Greenwood district suffered, I was so incredibly angry. Angry that this kind of hatred and ignorance was allowed to exist unpunished then, and even angrier that the city of Tulsa refused to be accountable and own this part of their history to this day. By ignoring what happened, refusing to teach it in the schools and by refusing to deliver justice to the survivors of this brutal attack, Tulsa is condoning the behavior of it’s citizens and the city. Thank you so much for making this documentary and giving the survivors a voice. This story deserves so much to be told and to send a message that good people won’t stand for the silence any longer.

  9. Mr. Terry McGee

    I thought the documentary was well prepared. I have heard several individuals make comments everywhere from “they just knew the KKK were sitting next to them during the show”, to “gosh I never knew I did not know so much about what happened to the Black Wall Street”, to “I am really more fearful about race relations now that I have heard white guys at work talking all the years about all the guns they are storing up at home“, we are in fact a very diverse community in every way, especially in our thoughts.

    Their was one comment made by the Fire Department Administration Chief Kevin Matthews that I did not see in context for the epilogue, but instead appeared to be a cover up for those that really should have been making comments. Such as the Fire Chief himself, The Police Chief, and the Sheriff Department, and or the Human Rights Director. Having the Fire Department Administrative Chief speak only reminded me of past political history when the Fire Chief was appointed the Deputy Mayor by Mayor Lafortune while the Fire Chief was still acting as the Fire Chief, …. to my understanding out of retaliation against the Police Department for supporting Mayor Taylor.

    To reflect a true sense of reconciliation I think that this event would have been the perfect opportunity for the City of Tulsa department head leaders that make the day to day decisions in the streets of the community to have stood with the Mayor to say we are sorry for the past and we pledge to move forward with the thought in mind to never let history repeat itself. With the past history of the Police Chief I think a golden opportunity was missed, but at this time we still have the future to look forward to in taking a proactive approach to reflect a true sense of tolerance and acceptance. I look forward to the next positive step and I commend Mayor Taylor for the first step taking in the right direction!

  10. Pingback: Remembering Black Wall Street | Young Black Professional Guide

  11. Lest they forget…

    Congratulations on your film, even though I have only seen the trailer on this website.

    I had no knowledge whatsoever of this piece of American history.

    I hope that the light that you are shining upon it will help to bring some justice to the survivors and also help to prevent more injustices in this terribly complicated history.


  12. Thank you for telling this story! Contact us so that we can feature your work on iKwanzaa.com.


  13. missingxtension

    I had never knew that it had happened until i started researching the gap band. Has anyone tried to get the documentary aired for black history month? It does not surprise me that such a black eye of history only has been remedied by make up, and really not left to heal. The right thing to do is to document this and teach it to everyone so that we will never forget, only then can the victims be honored.

  14. yvette bourgeois

    i am forty years old and it is like the young black people of today has no idea what our ancestors have been thru..and to just be blessed to have the things and rights we as african americans are just unreal..after reading an watching the clips i cried for those people..because i am apart of them…and to have all the blessings of the lord for the survivors to just be alive to tell there storie are just amazing…it is a god..because someone saw a need for them to tell this storie..i had no idea and as much as i love reading on black history..this was like new to me..and you better belive that i will let my children know about this…part of history that was just left out…

    when i was in high school i found that in my history class we never talked about black history events till feb..and i took it apon myself to educate myself on black history…and i found a lot..and this story was just never told..and i am glad it is being told now because ..people need to KNOW..

  15. This film is one of the most important films that everyone should see. Black people should see it so that they can remember from where they came. Not to hang on to the anger but to build upon their strength so that we can move forward with a stronger foundation to carry us through the next hundred years. Non Blacks should see it so that they understand the struggle that we had to endure to get to where we are today. When we are told to “Get over it” they really have to see what they are asking of us and that this is similar to what our Jewish brothers and sister went through during the holocaust. These atrocities represented the river that a generation of Black people had to cross on a daily basis. So to move from 1921 to 2009, from lynching to heading the most powerful office in the United States, Black people have proven that they are inherently strong in body and spirit. Every survivor of Black Wall Street should know in their heart that although this horrific event stays embedded in their minds forever, their hearts can rest assured that the pain in yet another brick laid that solidifies the foundation of a strong Black America that will forever shine. We can move on but we will never forget and every young Black citizen should use this historical event as a stepping stone for greatness for if God can be for us then who can be against us? We will win in the end. http://www.Obamatearsofjoy.com

  16. I cannot understand why so many people never of this race riot! I learned about it 40 years ago when I was in the Black Panthers. (Illinois Chapter) but be that as it may, I get mad every time I read about it and I hope the survivors get their just due. I would like to see the relatives of the Scottsboro boys compensated too. One more thing, everybody that was responsible for the death of Emitt Till in 1955 should be in jail, especially the white woman that he alledgly whistled at. She is living in Pennsylvania. Mississippi does not have the back bone to prosecute those criminals because it is such a backwards state. Justice delayed is ALWAYS justice denied.

  17. T. Taylor-Johnson

    Is there a publicized list of places the movie will be shown? I currently live in St. Louis and would love to attend a premier. I am from Tulsa and remember my grandmother telling me bits and pieces about this when I was a child. Unfortunately, that is the only time I heard of it. Not once was it mentioned in any of my elementary, middle, high school or college history/social studies classes. As an educator, I feel this is just one of many examples of how institutionalized racism permeates our schools. Until historical events such as this become a part of school curriculum and people (adults and children) are given opportunities to formally study and discuss the hurt that occurs as a result of incidents of oppression we will never be able to eliminate the achievement gap that exists.

  18. Robert

    When and where would I be able to see the doc…… in the Chicagoland area.

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