Watchmen is a fantastic show.
Based on the graphic novel written by Alan Moore, the 2019 HBO miniseries follows a group of masked vigilantes that take on an insidious group of white supremacists.
In a way, it’s actually leapt off the page in the form of masked protesters taking on the systemic racism in our country amidst a global pandemic. But I digress.
Watchmen begins in the chaos of a massacre taking place in Tulsa, Oklahoma in the 1920’s. A black child runs about helplessly searching for his family while white supremacists slaughter innocent black lives all around him. Black men, women, and children are shot in their hometown’s main street. Bombs are dropped from aircraft. Buildings are reduced to rubble. It’s a gruesome, heart-wrenching start to the show that sets the scene for the sustained racial injustices taking place in modern-day Tulsa, where the show’s vigilantes continue to fight white supremacy.
As I do with most shows I’m enthralled with, I started reading about it more online – reviews, online forums, fan theories, etc. As I learned more, I was horrified. Come to find out, the opening 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre sequence isn’t fiction. It’s history. But, I had never even heard of it. Not once.
I was incredulous. Why was I just hearing about this in 2019? How could I have been so ignorant to not have ever even heard of a massacre where anywhere from 36 to 300 people were killed in cold blood? How did I miss this in history class?
The answer’s simple – history is whitewashed. Our country has swept our misdeeds under the rug for years, hoping that no one would start snooping. But a bulge is showing in the rug and Americans want answers.
Our schools should be a cornerstone of change. We shouldn’t need to turn to HBO or comic book miniseries for our history lessons. Too many Americans learn about the Tulsa Massacre, Juneteenth, or other portions of our U.S. history late in life, by happenstance.
All Americans are entitled to know who we truly are. We must educate on our country’s whole truth – our failures as well as our successes. Without understanding our past failures, we will not learn how to overcome future challenges. We need real changes, with real teeth, on every level.