TULSA, Okla. (AP/KFOR) — City officials say the remains of 19 bodies that were exhumed as part of the city’s search for unmarked burials from Tulsa’s 1921 Race Massacre will be reinterred during a private ceremony.
Oaklawn Cemetery will be closed Wednesday through Friday due to the ceremony on Friday.
One hundred years after one of the worst instances of racial violence in the United States, city leaders in Tulsa say the search for victims of the Tulsa Race Massacre has come to an end.
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.
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.
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.
In June, lead investigators announced that they were terminating their excavation process.
“This process has been very sobering, a very powerful experience,” Kavin Ross, 1921 Graves Public Oversight Committee Chair, said.
In all, they were able to find 35 graves that were not marked.
Lead Forensic Anthropologist Phoebe Stubblefield said that certain parts of the cemetery were “shockingly under-documented,” so it’s extremely difficult to determine how many are connected to the massacre.
Efforts to identify the remains through records and possibly DNA are ongoing.