Researchers Think They Found Mass Graves From 1921 Massacre in Tulsa

By N. Jamiyla Chisholm Dec 17, 2019

HBO’s Tulsa-centered series “Watchmen” served up a fantastical racial justice scenario for the hundreds of victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre in its season finale on December 15. Now, NBC News reports that a possible mass grave site from the massacre has been discovered in a city cemetery. 

“I’m as confident as I can be in the results that this is a very big candidate with something associated with the massacre,” Scott Hammerstedt, a senior researcher for the Oklahoma Archeological Survey, said at a public hearing in Tulsa on Monday (December 16), according to NBC News.

Hammerstedt and experts at the University of Oklahoma used geophysical scans at the Oaklawn Cemetery to identify two spots where bodies may be located. They have yet to confirm how many people are buried there, but surveys found that one area may be a grave and another a trench of about 30 by 25 feet, which could hold anywhere from 10 to 100 bodies. In addition to Oaklawn, the city is said to be working with the private owners of Booker T. Washington Cemetery to gain access to the grounds, experts believe remains are also buried there.

Tulsa’s Greenwood District was known as Black Wall Street after World War I, due to its affluent Black residents and thriving businesses. On October 20, “Watchmen” premiered with a reimagining of the 1921 massacre and #BlackWallStreet trended on social media as people shared information about and archival photos from the horrific event.