TULSA, Okla. (KFOR) – Officials have announced a massive scientific development in the search for graves of Tulsans murdered in the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

“We’re here today to announce that the remains of 6 individuals exhumed in the search for Race Massacre victims have yielded DNA profiles that we can trace to DNA relatives living today,” said Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum

The breakthrough comes more than one hundred years after one of the worst cases of racial violence in the U.S. 

In 1921, Tulsa’s Greenwood District burned to the ground as a white mob attacked the community. The violence was ignited after a black man was accused of assaulting a white woman. Hundreds of black residents were killed, and 800 others were injured. Many were thought to be buried in unmarked graves.

“We do not know for certain that these relatives are direct descendants, nor do we know if their remains are race massacre victims, but we do know these remains share DNA with people living in America today,” said Mayor Bynum. 

“This is truly pioneering work, and we are putting our hearts and souls into it,” said Danny Hellwig with Intermountain Forensics.

Hellwig is a part of the forensics team who has flagged specific last names in particular counties where relatives may be found.

“As a mayor who is trying to find our murdered neighbors, my plea to anyone who sees this is a simple one, if you happen to see this news, and you see your last name and a place that you’ve lived is flagged, you have a family history in Tulsa, please reach out to the research team at Tulsa1921DNA.org,” said Mayor Bynum 

For more information, visit tulsa1921dna.org.