City of Tulsa, archaeologists give update on 1921 Graves Investigation

TULSA, Okla. — More than a century later, the city of Tulsa is searching for the graves of 18 individuals from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Archeologists and the mayor said the nearly two year long continued search is not easy.

Between last summer’s excavation and this year’s that just wrapped up, archeologists found two males with gunshot wounds to the head. Giving hope to archeologists and Mayor G.T. Bynum to finding answers one day.

“We’ve got to find these victims so we can connect them with their descendants that is the most important thing,” Bynum said.

This excavation round, the gunshot wound victim was buried with personal items.

“Including one with a shoe and keys. His manner of burial indicates haste or lack of consideration of burial unlike what we’re use to seeing. He’s one of our individuals of interest,” Stubblefield said.

However, the search for the original 18 in Oaklawn Cemetery is harder than anticipated.

“We are not looking for a needle in a hay stack. We’re looking for a needle in a needle stack,” he said.

Archeologists believed the race massacre victims would be closer together.

“We anticipated all of those individuals would be buried in rows but adjacent to one another,” Stubblefield said.

The eight exhumed since last month are going for DNA analysis and way may not know more until after the holidays.