Search for victims of Tulsa Race Massacre continues at Oklahoma cemetery

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TULSA, Okla. (KFOR) – One hundred years after one of the worst instances of racial violence in the United States, city leaders in Tulsa say they are still searching for victims of the Tulsa Race Massacre.

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

3rd June 1921: injured and wounded men are being taken to hospital by National guardsmen after racially motivated riots, also known as the "Tulsa Race Massacre", during which a mobs of white residents attacked black residents and businesses of the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma, US. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
3rd June 1921: injured and wounded men are being taken to hospital by National guardsmen after racially motivated riots, also known as the “Tulsa Race Massacre”, during which a mobs of white residents attacked black residents and businesses of the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma, US. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

But, on May 31 through June 1, 1921, the entire area was burned down as a white mob attacked the community after a Black man was accused of assaulting a white woman.

White residents burned down homes and businesses, killing hundreds of Black residents and injuring 800 others.

Despite it being one of the worst instances of racial violence in the United States, the massacre was mostly swept under the rug.

Tulsa Race Massacre photo courtesy of OSU-Tulsa
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Although the Tulsa Race Massacre occurred 100 years ago, the community never fully recovered.

Businesses were never able to rebuild, and innocent families were not compensated for the losses caused by the mob.

Although there are estimates regarding the casualties that occurred during the attack, officials have been working for more than a year to find all of the victims.

On Tuesday, the City of Tulsa began a full excavation and analysis of the Original 18 site at Oaklawn Cemetery.

Due to the size of the grave shaft and anticipated number of burials, experts expect the excavation could take weeks or even months depending on the needs in the field.

Oaklawn Cemetery will serve as the temporary re-interment site and the Public Oversight Committee will make recommendations for a permanent burial and memorial location for 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre victims identified through this process.

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