21 new coffins found in search for Tulsa Massacre victims


In this image provided by the City of Tulsa, Crews work on an excavation at Oaklawn Cemetery searching for victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022, in Tulsa, Okla. Officials say the search for remains of victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre has turned up 21 additional graves in the city’s Oaklawn Cemetery. [City of Tulsa via AP]


The search for remains of victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre has turned up 21 additional coffins in unmarked graves in the city’s Oaklawn Cemetery, officials said.


Seventeen adult-size graves were located Friday and Saturday, Oklahoma State Archaeologist Kary Stackelbeck said Monday. Additionally, the city announced Tuesday that four graves, two adult-size and two child-size, had been found.


The coffins, then the remains, will be examined to see if they match reports from 1921 that the victims were males buried in plain caskets.


“This is going to part of our process of discriminating which ones we’re going to proceed with in terms of exhuming those individuals and which ones we’re actually going to leave in place,” Stackelbeck said in a video statement.


The work, by hand, was still under way. The types of coffins and gender of the victims have not been determined, according to the city’s statement.


A violent white mob targeted Black people during the massacre, in which more than 1,000 homes were burned, hundreds were looted, and a thriving business district known as Black Wall Street was destroyed. Historians have estimated the death toll at 75 to 300.


Rumors persisted for decades of mass unmarked graves, but previous searches found no remains.

 

(c) AP News 2022