Experts at the University of Oklahoma believe they have found a possible mass grave site from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre at a city cemetery, although they are unsure how many bodies are underneath.
Geophysical scanning identified two spots at the Oaklawn Cemetery that might bear bodies of those killed in the city’s race riots almost 100 years ago, Scott Hammerstedt, a senior researcher for the Oklahoma Archeological Survey, said Monday at a public hearing in Tulsa.
Surveys confirmed suspicions that one area might be a grave, in addition to a newly discovered trench under the soil of about 30 by 25 feet.
The Tulsa Race Massacre, sometimes referred to as the Tulsa race riots, began in May 1921 after a black teenager named Dick Rowland was falsely accused of having assaulted a white woman.
White rioters led by the Ku Klux Klan began burning Greenwood down early on June 1, looting many of the district’s black businesses, as the governor declared martial law and brought in the National Guard.
Official death tolls at the time accounted for 36 people killed in the riots, although experts have long believed that the number could be in the hundreds.