The city of Tulsa, Oklahoma, has launched an excavation to resume a previous search for mass graves associated with the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.
Just on the heels of the centennial anniversary of the burning of Black Wall Street, a group of archeologists and historians planned a full excavation and exhumation of a mass grave found in Oaklawn Cemetry on Tuesday, News On 6 reports. Researchers are working to find out if the bodies found in the mass grave are related to the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.
The mass grave was located last October near the headstones of two known massacre victims, Reuben Everett and Eddie Lockard. During the test excavation, archaeologists found 12 coffins. Now they believe if the dimensions of the mass grave are correct, there could be more than 30 unmarked graves at the site.
Scientists will conduct their research on-site. But it will reportedly take weeks and months to determine if the remains are from those murdered during the 1921 attack.
“I hope that even though it’s not going to be tomorrow and it’s going to take us some time, I hope that we have answers and that I hope we can lend something to learning more about who these individuals are, who are in this unmarked mass grave that we didn’t know about previously,” Dr. Kary Stackelbeck with the Oklahoma Archeological Survey said.
The excavation kicked off on Tuesday morning and is expected to continue Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. until the work is done.
“We are neither shocked nor surprised that merely three days after opening on 26 Mercer Street, in celebration of our ancestors, that we would find a literal whitewashing of Black Wall Street on our front window,” owner and director Ricco Wright said on Thursday.