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1921 Graves Oversight Committee recommends excavation, reinternment plans

Day four of the second test excavation in the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Graves Investigation
Posted at 10:17 PM, Mar 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-23 23:35:58-04

TULSA, Okla. — Plans are forming to begin excavation in the search for mass graves from the 1921 Tulsa race massacre.

The 1921 Graves Public Oversight Committee recommends Oaklawn Cemetery as the temporary reinternment site for any identified remains. Meanwhile, the committee will continue looking for a more permanent burial location, and memorial for any 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre victims identified through the excavation.

READ MORE: 1921 Graves Public Oversight Committee discusses proposed reinterment plans at Oaklawn Cemetery

This is the next step in the search for those victims. Researchers found 12 unmarked graves at Oaklawn Cemetery last year. Now, the team will excavate and analyze those remains.

One challenge for researchers is making sure there’s enough DNA to identify the remains. The hope is their teeth will be preserved well enough to get DNA samples. They’ll also look for artifacts and physical indicators to help identify.

Oaklawn isn’t the only site where researchers are looking for race massacre victims. The city finally got the okay to survey Rolling Oaks Cemetery for any mass graves.

The city will also hire a funeral director, fund additional archaeological services, and seek approval from the state for the excavation.

The team expects to begin work at Oaklawn Cemetery in early June. The excavation could last several weeks or months.

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