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Search begins for possible mass graves


A search for a possible mass grave nearly a century after black people were brutally killed by White rioters is officially underway.


The black people known to be from the Tulsa race were burned and looted by these rioters during a Tulsa Race massacre in 1921.

Following the attack, an estimated 10,000 White people flooded the city lootomg, burning, shooting and bombing Blacks residents.

The test excavation which was put on hold in March due to the Coronavirus pandemic, is a part of a study to determine whether there are human remains in the area.

Mayor of Tulsa, G. T. Bynum said in a Facebook post that, work continues to find the graves of Tulsans who went missing during the 1921 Tulsa Race massacre.

He said “today we begin a test excavation in Oaklawn cemetery to determine what is causing am underground anomaly found by geophysical scanning conducted earlier this year”.

According to him, a team of some of the foremost researchers in the nation assembled in Tulsa to assess both the presence and the condition of any human remains at the site in question.

Mayor Bynum noted that the excavation at the Oaklawn cemetery, where a survey found unmarked large seemingly human-dug areas, which began on Tuesday, is expected to take three to six days.

“In Tulsa, if you’re murdered we do everything we can to find out what happened and bring justice for your family. It should not have taken us 99 years to get to this point of the investigation. But this generation of Tulsans is committed to being a better city, and to doing right by the victims. We will follow the truth where it leads us.”

Forensic Anthropologist at the University of Florida, Phoebe Stubblefield, said the area was treated as a crime scene, adding that, forensic archaeologists were on looking for clues.


The Tusla Race massacre of 1921 resulted in the death of African American residents of the city’s Greenwood District, when a mob of White rioters looted and burned the community.

The riots were sparked by a confrontation between a Black resident and a White man, who was part of a group of angry White residents demanding the lynching of a young Black man. In a struggle over th3 White man’s gun, the White man got shot and a White mob began to storm the neighbourhood.

Following the attack, 35 city blocks were burned, more than 800 people got injured and as many as 300 people were killed.

The city has however created a Facebook page with live video feeds and updates on the excavation.

By Agnes Melissa Yovo |



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