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Human remains found on 2nd day of searching for victims of Tulsa race massacre

Posted at 10:06 AM, Oct 19, 2020

TULSA, Okla. - Archaeologists said during a press conference on Tuesday that they have encountered human remains on day two of the second test excavation as they search for victims of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre.

Archaeologists said they do not know if the remains are from 1921 or not.

I am very grateful to have the foremost experts in the country working to locate the remains of victims from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Today, our research team found an unmarked grave in an area previously identified through geophysical survey work. The next step will be to identify if the remains are associated with the Tulsa Race Massacre. This will be done through forensic analysis of the remains, and by comparing them with funeral home and death certificate records. We will continue to take this investigation one step at a time, wherever it may lead.

Researchers said the investigation is expected to last one week but could extend into a second week, depending on the findings.

The archaeologists are focusing on two areas in Oaklawn Cemetery this time around.

The first site is adjacent to two 1921 race massacre headstones in the historically Black section of Potters Field; the second is a new dig site located on the Southwest section of the cemetery.

In 2018, Mayor Bynum announced the City of Tulsa would re-examine potential graves from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. That investigation began in 2020 with crews conducting their search along the western edge of the cemetery. Archaeologists conducted extensive test excavations and concluded with no evidence of human remains.

However, the search could continue beyond Oaklawn Cemetery. Researchers said several areas are still candidates for possible mass grave sites related to the 1921 Tulsa race massacre. The Canes and Rolling Oaks Memorial Gardens could be next on the list of possible excavation sites.

This story was originally published by Tatianna Taylor at KJRH.