Monday marks 100 years since the Tulsa Race Massacre, which is considered one of the worst incidents of racist violence in U.S. history.
The horrific event occurred in Tulsa over a 14-hour period from May 31 to June 1, 1921.
Many lives were lost, and over 1,200 homes were destroyed by an angry white mob in the Black district known as Greenwood or Black Wall Street.
Here’s a brief timeline of what happened that day, 100 years ago.
May 31, 1921
Details vary of what transpired between 19-year-old Dick Rowland, a Black shoeshiner, and Sarah Page, a 17-year-old white elevator operator at the Drexel Building on May 31, 1921.
According to the Oklahoma Historical Society, a clerk told officers that he heard Page scream and saw Rowland run out of the building. After Tulsa police officers spoke with Page, they did not consider investigating the incident or arresting Rowland a high priority, so they waited until the next day to arrest him.
According to the 2001 Race Riot Commission Report, more than 1,000 white men descended upon the jail where Rowland sat.
In response, more than 50 Black men came to defend Rowland and aid the police to protect the jail.
Outnumbered, the Black men retreated to Greenwood.
According to a report issued by Human Rights Watch, the white mob followed them into "Black Wall Street," destroying 35 square blocks, burning down homes, businesses, churches, schools, and a hospital.
As many as 10,000 people were left homeless, at least 6,000 of the remaining residents were detained in internment camps a week after the tragedy.
According to NBC News, at least $1.4 million ($25 million in today's dollars) in damages were claimed after the massacre.
On June 25, 1921, a grand jury found that Blacks incited the riot.
Afterward, property owners filed lawsuits against various officials, the city, the county, and insurers, the Tulsa World reported.
In Redfearn v. American Central Insurance, a white property owner sued local officials, stating they were responsible for the destruction of Greenwood.
In 1926, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled in favor of the insurance companies from having to pay liability due to a riot.
In 2003, a class-action lawsuit was brought by survivors and descendants seeking damages for the destruction of Greenwood against the city, county, and state.
But on March 19, 2004, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma dismissed the suit, saying the statute of limitations had expired.
The 2001 commission report recommended the city search for mass graves, But then Tulsa Mayor Susan Savage closed the investigation without physically investigating the mass graves sites.
In 2018, Tulsa’s current mayor, G.T. Bynum, announced he would reopen the investigation.
In October 2020, at least 12 wooden coffins were uncovered at Oaklawn Cemetery in the Potters’ Field section.
The Tulsa World reported that the exhumation process could begin around June 1 and would likely take four to six weeks, depending on the weather and what is found.