Remains Found In Search For 1921 Tulsa Massacre Victims

On Wednesday, excavation crews found the remains of at least 10 people that are believed to be victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

“What we were finding was an indication that we were inside a large area...a large hole that had been excavated and into which several individuals had been placed and buried in that location. This constitutes a mass grave,” state archaeologist Kary Stackelbeck explained.

The remains were found in 10 wooden coffins. At the time, the city has elected not to remove the coffins from where they are currently located.

“Those skeletal remains are not in great condition,” Stackelbeck added.

“They’re not the worst condition we have seen ... but they’re not the best.”

This is the second major development the city has had in searching for victims of the 1921 Massacre. Earlier this week, excavation crews found another mass grave site with the remains of at least 11 people. While these developments are promising, archaeologists are asking the relatives of victims to allow for more time to properly identify those who were tragically killed.

“We will need considerable time to investigate them because the preservation, teeth have been showing up OK, but non-dental structures have deteriorated," University of Florida Forensic Anthropologist Phoebe Stubblefield said.

Also, local officials have cautioned residents from connecting both findings to the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. The remains of the 11 people uncovered on Tuesday were located at a designated memorial site for victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. However, the remains of the 10 people found on Wednesday were recovered at an unmarked site.

“We have not yet made our assessment to say that these do actually represent the massacre victims,” Stackelbeck said.

“What we do know as of today is that there is a mass grave in Oaklawn cemetery where we have no record of anyone being buried,” Tulsa MayorT.G. Bynum added.

Moving forward, archaeologists will examine the remains found this week and excavation crews may examine other sites in Tulsa such as Newblock Park and Rolling Oaks Memorial Gardens.

Photo: Getty Images

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