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1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Graves Update – March 23

This article was archived on 4/25/2021

Tuesday evening, the 1921 Graves Public Oversight Committee recommended that a full excavation and analysis of the Original 18 site at Oaklawn Cemetery proceed this summer, with Oaklawn Cemetery as a temporary re-internment site for any identified remains.

While Oaklawn Cemetery was recommended as the temporary re-interment site, the Public Oversight Committee will work in the coming months to make recommendations for a permanent burial and memorial location for 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre victims identified through this process.

Due to the size of the grave shaft and anticipated number of burials, experts expect the excavation could take weeks or even months depending on the needs in the field. Additionally, the City will hire a Funeral Director, fund additional archaeological services, and seek State regulatory approval for the excavation this summer.

The Public Oversight Committee will reconvene in April to further discuss the investigation. The City of Tulsa will share additional logistics and additional information about the excavation scheduled this summer once available. 

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: and follow 1921 Graves on Facebook, @1921Graves. A public shared drive, including pictures, video and drone footage, from the test excavations at Oaklawn Cemetery can be found on the 1921 Graves website. No courtesy is needed when using images and videos from that drive.

The Public Oversight Committee was established to ensure transparency and community engagement throughout the 1921 Graves investigation. The Committee serves in an advisory capacity to the City during the key decisions throughout the investigation. The Oversight Committee is comprised of descendants of the Tulsa Race Massacre and leaders in Tulsa’s African-American community.