Mass Grave Found in Tulsa

Archeologists have been searching the grounds of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre in hopes of finding abandoned remains. Oklahoma state archeologist Kary Stackelbeck released information on a mass grave that she and her team found on Wednesday. 

"We still have a lot of work to do to identify the nature of that mass grave and identify who is in it, but what we do know, as of today, is that there is a mass grave in Oaklawn Cemetery where we have no record of anyone being buried," Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said.

The outlines of at least 10 coffins were found at the Oaklawn Cemetery in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Stackelbeck said that she has a "high degree of confidence that this is one of the locations that we have been looking for." 

The 1921 race riots stemmed from an altercation between a Black Greenwood district resident and a White man, among a group of White people, who wanted to lynch a younger Black man. The two men began to fight, and the altercation resorted in the shooting of the White man. This prompted a mob of White folks to storm the streets of the district known as the Black Wall Street. 

All in all, 300 Black residents were murdered that day. More than 1,000 homes were burned to the ground. The bodies of the deceased were buried by strangers in mass graves. The victims' families were detained under martial law and could not handle any burial themselves said Scott Ellsworth, a University of Michigan historian expert who has worked on the recovery of the Tulsa riot graves for decades.

"We basically are thinking of our loved ones, our community members who lost their lives very, very tragically," said Brenda Alford, a descendant of one of the victims and the chair of the investigation's public oversight committee. "I am just very appreciative of all the hard work that is going into finding our truth, to again bring some sense of justice and healing to our community."


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