Archaeologists Find Bodies of Tulsa Race Massacre Victims

In June of 2021, Archaeologists examined a mass grave site at the Oaklawn Cemetery in Oklahoma. They found the outlines of at least ten coffins that could hold the remains of victims of the Tulsa Race Massacre.

According to, the Tulsa Race massacre occurred over 18 hours from May 31 to June 1, 1921. A white mob attacked residents, homes, and businesses in the predominantly Black Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The event remains one of the worst incidents of racial violence in U.S. history. It is also not well known, because news reports were largely squelched, despite the fact that hundreds of people were killed and thousands left homeless.

Forensic Magazine reported on June 16, 2021, that the team of archaeologists, led by Oklahoma’s state archaeologist Kary Stackelbeck, and renowned forensic anthropologist Phoebe Stubblefield, completed excavations at Oaklawn Cemetery in October. They had to stop and wait for warmer weather.

The excavation was resumed in June of 2021. At that time, there were seven individuals in the lab. Of the seven individuals, there are four adults – 2 females, 2 males, and 3 infants. The presence of female bodies and infants is unusual. Researchers expected to find all-male victims of the 1921 attack.

USA Today reported on June 27, 2021, that the archaeology team announced that a total of 35 graves were found. From those graves, 19 individuals were taken for forensic analysis, nine of which were complete.

According to USA Today, forensic anthropologist Phoebe Stubblefield, who is a descendant of a survivor of the massacre, is assisting in the search. She said that one individual was an older female, and the remaining adults’ ages ranged from 30s to 40s.

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