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Public meeting to be held May 23 for investigation into Tulsa Race Massacre mass graves

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Posted at 9:09 AM, May 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-09 10:10:40-04

TULSA — A public meeting will be held later this month as Tulsa city leaders discuss plans to begin the investigative process into the potential mass graves search from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

Mayor G.T. Bynum says a full investigation into the potential mass graves is the only way for the city to move forward. The meeting will be held May 23 at 5:30 p.m. at the 36th Street Event Center, at 1125 East 36th Street North.

“The only way to move forward in our work to bring about reconciliation in Tulsa is by seeking the truth honestly,” Mayor G.T. Bynum said. “As we open this investigation 98 years later, there are both unknowns and truths to uncover. But we are committed to exploring what happened in 1921 through a collective and transparent process - filling gaps in our city’s history, and providing healing and justice to our community.”

RELATED: 1921 Race Massacre Commission to roll out statewide curriculum for teachers

Bynum says the city will reexamine the potential of mass graves at three sites: Oaklawn Cemetery, Newblock Park and Rolling Oaks Memorial Gardens.

A public oversight committee was established to ensure transparency and community engagement in the process, officials said. The committee is composed of descendants of the Tulsa Race Massacre, along with leaders in Tulsa's African-American community.

The Oklahoma Archaeological Survey will use ground-penetrating radar at the three identified sites, and present their findings to the city of Tulsa and oversight committee.

If mass graves are located, the city and committee will work to determine the next steps in the process.

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