In an effort to properly honor the innocent people who lost their lives during the 1921 race massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma a second excavation for more remains of the site will begin today (October 19).
Phoebe Stubblefield, a forensic anthropologist at the University of Florida and whose great-aunt Anna Walker Woods had her home burned down in the massacre, is helping the search. She told the outlet, “I realize we can tell this story the way it needs to be told, now. The story is no longer hidden. We’re putting the completion on this event.”
She also added, “People, they were just robbed, white people coming in saying Black people had better property than they had and that that was just not right. Burning, thieving, killing wasn’t enough. They had to prevent Black people from recovering. Personally, professionally, spiritually I have an investment in this.”
In the attack, according to historical records, a racist white mob decimated the Greenwood District, a prosperous all-Black area of the city known colloquially as “Black Wall Street.” The scourge lasted two days from May 31 to June 1, 1921, killing at least 37 people -- according to official figures -- and resulted in millions of dollars in damage.
According to the Tulsa World, records and news articles say 18 Black victims of the terror attack were buried in Oaklawn Cemetery. Written and oral history cites Oaklawn as well as other cemeteries as locations where the remains of victims could be buried in unmarked graves. The location was also identified by subsurface scanning conducted last year.
The Associated Press says the actual death toll could approximately be 300.
(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)