A lot of people learned about the 1921 Tulsa race massacre from last year’s Watchmen on HBO and now a bunch of schools will teach lessons about the tragedy. CNN reports, during a news conference on Wednesday Oklahoma officials announced their plans to increase teaching around the event going forward. The curriculum did not contain lessons around the massacre in Tulsa and now they will. Increased focus on that historical event was spurred on by Watchmen as many fans reported that they had never heard of it. Some even thought the show had invented the event and were corrected after the fact. It’s very surreal to see an event that many have tried to sweep under the rug become an essential part of an HBO series and then the history becomes part of a state curriculum as a result of that exposure.
“What we want to ensure is that…we are teaching [at] a grade-appropriate level those facts that have not been taught in a way they should have been taught in Oklahoma,” State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister told the crowd at a news conference. “This is…our history and we should know it.”
Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum added that the question facing the city going forward is, “how we can use this horrible tragedy to instruct and inform and make sure that nothing like this ever happens again.”
“This isn’t something that you just read about in history books and think that’s something that happened 100 years ago, it can never happen again,” he added. “That’s exactly what people in 1921 in Tulsa probably thought too.”
Steven G. Norfleet plays Angela Abar’s great-grandfather on the show and he offered his take on how central the Tulsa Race Massacre was to the story of Watchmen.
He explained, “That’s what I wanted the most out of all of it, because I thought it was so … It’s so cool that Damon and the team, how they intertwine our reality with this world of Watchmen. And going into it, I wasn’t really too familiar with the Race Riot myself, and so, getting this opportunity to be a part of this show, it forced me to go back and brush up on my own history. Some things we don’t get to learn in school. I feel like our history sometimes is kind of pushed to the back, and not something that is right in front of your face. And so, I feel like Watchman and HBO gave the world the opportunity to be entertained and to also learn. So, that for sure was something that I was hoping would be the best received out of the whole episode.”
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