KFOR interactive radar

Experts: Anomalies found in search for mass graves related to 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre

TULSA, Okla. (KFOR/KOKI) – Archaeological experts have released their findings following a search for mass grave sites in connection to the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

The Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma was once called the “Black Wall Street,” a 35-block radius in the segregated community thriving with hundreds of businesses.

But, on June 1, 1921, the entire area was burned down as a result of a riot that began after a black man was accused of assaulting a white woman.

White residents attacked the community, killing hundreds of black residents and injuring 800 others.

In preparation for the 100th-anniversary of the tragedy, Tulsa community leaders pushed for justice for the dead.

Recently, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum proposed using $100,000 from the city’s budget to search for the mass graves of the victims.

Months ago, Bynum said crews would search Oaklawn Cemetery, Newblock Park, The Canes, and Rolling Oaks Memorial Gardens for possible mass graves.

“If we can identify a place where there are bodies, we have a responsibility to look into that,” Mayor Bynum told KJRH.

In October, scientists and forensic archaeologists used ground-penetrating radar to search for anything unusual in the cemeteries.

Now, archaeological experts say a few anomalies were found that might indicate they are the sites of mass graves.

Officials told FOX 23 that the area around ‘The Canes,’ a stretch of land by the 11th Street bridge, had two large anomalies that could be related to a mass grave.

However, they say Oaklawn Cemetery is the most likely candidate for a mass gravesite.

Experts say the anomalies don’t necessarily mean they are mass graves related to the race massacre. Instead, they say it could be something as simple as a tree root or a grave that wasn’t properly marked.

The public oversight committee will now create a plan for the next steps in the investigation.

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