Tags: tulsa | massacre | dig | greenwood | black wall street | mass grave

Tulsa to Start Digging for Mass Grave Related to Race Massacre

black wall street memorial engraved on black stone in front of the memorial site with flowers
The Black Wall Street Massacre memorial is shown on June 18, 2020 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 13 July 2020 09:19 AM

The city of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was slated to start digging at a site suspected of being a mass grave related to the massacre of hundreds of Black people a century ago.

According to The Washington Post, scientists, archaeologists, and forensic anthropologists will use heavy machinery to remove the top layers of soil at Oaklawn Cemetery. Previous testing has indicated anomalies farther down in the ground, which could indicate the presence of a mass grave.

"In the past 99 years, no other agency or government entity has moved this far into an investigation that will seek truth into what happened in Tulsa in 1921," Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said, according to the Post.

"As we resume with the test excavation, we're taking all precautions to do so under the safest environment possible. I'm thankful for the health and well-being of our partners who have diligently coordinated with our team to move forward with this work during the constraints of the pandemic and record heat we are expecting."

The COVID-19 pandemic previously delayed the dig by three months.

In what's known as one of the worst instances of racial violence in American history, a wealthy Black neighborhood in Tulsa called Greenwood — which was dubbed Black Wall Street — was attacked by whites in 1921. The area was burned to the ground and thousands of Black residents were injured. It's believed that as many as 300 were killed.

The Post reported that the dig could last two weeks. The city of Tulsa said the effort is part of "a feasibility study to determine the presence or absence of human remains, determine the nature of the interments, and obtain data to help inform the future steps in the investigation, including appropriate recovery efforts."

Once the top layers of soil are removed, experts will dig by hand in order to preserve any human remains.

In June during a "60 Minutes" feature on the Greenwood massacre, it was noted that the Spanish Flu pandemic was happening around the same time and that any mass graves that are discovered could also be linked to that, rather than the massacre.

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The city of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was slated to start digging at a site suspected of being a mass grave related to the massacre of hundreds of Black people a century ago. According to The Washington Post, scientists, archaeologists, and forensic anthropologists will use heavy...
tulsa, massacre, dig, greenwood, black wall street, mass grave
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2020-19-13
Monday, 13 July 2020 09:19 AM
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