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1921 Graves Investigation Update - June 21, 2022

6/22/2022
This article was archived on 7/31/2022

This evening, the Public Oversight Committee for the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Graves Investigation met virtually with technical experts to discuss the DNA analysis work and discuss next steps in the investigation.    

The City of Tulsa is working with Intermountain Forensics to complete the DNA analysis from last summer’s excavation in Oaklawn Cemetery. The first phase of analysis has been completed and two out of 14 individuals have viable DNA to begin genealogy processing. Experts said the age of the remains have created some challenges to extract viable DNA, but they are hopeful that two male individuals have produced enough viable DNA for further analysis. Intermountain Forensics will be working with technical experts to identify further viable DNA samples.   

In the near future, the City will be planning for further excavation at Oaklawn Cemetery to continue the City’s search for 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre victims. In addition to the excavation, the City will also be exploring options for coring work at Newblock Park and the nearby Canes site for further geoarchaeological analysis. A date has yet to be determined for this work. The City has $1 million budgeted for the upcoming work in Fiscal Year 2023. 

Supporting documents from tonight’s meeting will be posted tomorrow at www.cityoftulsa.org/1921graves. The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Public Oversight Committee will meet again next quarter. 

DNA Analysis: Get Involved 

Utah Cold Case Coalition Intermountain Forensics is seeking DNA help from anyone who may have relatives from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. For those who want to get involved who have family ties to the massacre, email info@intermountainforensics.com and enter the subject line “1921 Graves.” 


 1921 Graves Search Background 

For the most up-to-date information on the search for possible graves dating to the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, visit: www.cityoftulsa.org/1921graves and follow 1921 Graves on Facebook, @1921Graves. A public shared drive, including pictures, video and drone footage, from the test excavations and excavation work at Oaklawn Cemetery can be found on the 1921 Graves website. No courtesy is needed when using images and videos from that drive.