Archaeologists find the remains of 2 adults they believe could be victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre

Buildings burning during Race Riots, Greenwood District, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Buildings burning during Race Riots, Greenwood District, Tulsa, OklahomaCirca Images/GHI/Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
  • Human remains found by archaeologists could be from victims of the Tulsa Race Massacre.
  • The remains were found during a dig at grave shafts in Tulsa, Oklahoma, CNN reported.
  • State archaeologist Kary Stackelbeck said on Thursday they planned to exhume the remains for tests.

Archaeologists found the remains of two adults they suspect could be victims of the Tulsa Race Massacre, where as many as 300 Black residents were killed by a white mob in 1921, CNN reported.

The remains were discovered during an archaeological dig in Oaklawn Cemetery in Oklahoma during the third excavation of the site, which started in September, per the outlet.

Oklahoma state archaeologist Kary Stackelbeck said that the archaeological team had exposed 22 grave shafts in a video posted on Facebook on Thursday.

The remains of the two suspected victims were found buried in “simple, wood caskets,” she said in the video, which matched the team’s criteria for victims based on information gathered from death certificates, newspaper reports, and funeral homes.

“That basically suggests that we had a number of adult male individuals that were supposed to be buried in simple, wood coffins here in Oaklawn Cemetery, in the Black potters’ field,” she said.

Stackelbeck said archaeologists had found “fancier or nicer coffins” in some of the other grave shafts, which they did not think were likely to be victims of the massacre. She added that they intended to continue expanding the excavation area and expose more graves.

Burning Buildings During Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921
Black smoke billows from fires during the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921, in the Greenwood District, Tulsa, OklahomaCorbis/Getty Images

One set of the exhumed remains was sent to a forensic lab at the dig site, The Independent reported, adding that both of the remains were thought to be from adults.

The Tulsa Race Massacre took place from May 31 to June 1, 1921 and was one of the worst incidents of racial violence to have occurred in US history.

Over the course of 18 hours, a white mob descended on the predominately Black neighborhood of Greenwood, Tulsa — which was known as the “Black Wall Street” — and began attacking residents, burning homes, and destroying businesses.

Insider reported last month that an Oklahoma judge had dismissed a case that was filed by three survivors of the massacre in September 2020.

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