About the Project

What a pitiful bunch we were, in our nightclothes, barefoot, electric lines falling down around us, smoldering relics of once beautiful homes, the sight and smell of death and destruction all around us. There were men, women, and children running like frightened animals fleeing a forest fire. We saw things that day that no human eye should ever see.”
– Kinney Booker, 1921 Tulsa riot survivor

tower depicting the race riot

In a unique partnership with the Ford Foundation's JustFilms, Hate Crimes in the Heartland launches a national tour beginning in January 2015 with Emmy Award winning filmmaker Rachel Lyon. Cities will include Cleveland, Los Angeles, Boston, New York, San Diego and Cincinnati, among others.

Heartland is an award winning documentary film and community outreach project that explores our national epidemic of hate crimes through the lens of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Here two crimes, over 90 years apart, are impacting human rights, media, crime, race and punishment in communities today.

The film played in November at the African American Women in Cinema Festival in New York in November in Harlem, the Ohio Independent Film Festival in Cleveland and at the San Diego Black Film Festival in January 2015. The film will also premiere at the Cleveland Museum of Art on Martin Luther King Day on January 19th, 2015.

The film begins in Tulsa, where two white men drove through the African-American Greenwood neighborhood targeting blacks at random, killing three and leaving two others in critical condition in 2012. The film follows the murders, social media uproar, manhunt, capture and prosecution of two suspects who faced the death penalty.

Like no other documentary exploring this topic, Hate Crimes in the Heartland exposes current and past hate crimes in our nation, especially the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot in which Black Wall Street was burned to a cinder, 10,000 were made homeless and up to 300 perished at the hands of a white mob. Heartland exposes how racial animosity still haunts American culture by exploring the most violent race riot in our history. Set in the same Tulsa neighborhood, the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot brings the thorny lessons of the past into still surging river of present-day unrest.

Co-producer Pi Isis Ankhra and associate producers Reggie Turner and Bavand Karim join Lyon on the Project. Partners include the Ford Foundation’s JustFilms, the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, Harvard Law School, New Jersey City University, Northern Kentucky University, DePaul University, The Tulsa Project, Northeast Church of Christ of Oklahoma City and the John Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice.