Tulsa Race Massacre Victims Buried At Oaklawn Cemetery, Caretaker's Grandson Says
TULSA, Oklahoma - There are only two headstones from the race massacre at Oaklawn Cemetery. They mark the graves of Eddie Lockard, and Reuben Everett, both with death dates of June 1, 1921.
A new fence surrounds an empty patch of Bermuda grass that marks the spot where archaeologists believe other graves, without markers, might be.
Just beyond that fence is the headstone of Willie Cravens, a longtime Sextant, or manager, of Oaklawn. Darrin Cravens, his grandson, wonders if his grandfather chose his burial spot purposely next to the spot where victims of the massacre are believed to have been buried. A recent scan by archaeologists from the University of Oklahoma added credence to the stories by indicating disturbed soil and evidence of a filled in trench.
“It's just hard” said Cravens. “My grandfather knew this place from the back of his hand.”
Cravens said he spent summers and evenings there when he was a teenager, working with his father.
“I grew up out here. This is my old stomping grounds,” he said.
Cravens said his grandfather often pointed out where victims of the massacre were buried, along the fence line by the Inner Dispersal Loop near where the archaeologists suggested an excavation, and underneath of the paved roads through the cemetery. The roads were not scanned because the equipment cannot detect soil differences underneath asphalt.
“Being a part of this, if they turn around and extract bodies from there, it's kind of a relief I guess.” he said.
Cravens believes there will be bodies from the massacre found at Oaklawn - and he believes part of his family's story will finally be validated, while over the years few would listen with no expectation that any searches would come of it.
“Maybe my grandfather set here and told me that for a reason” Cravens said.
He’s eager to see what’s discovered underneath the soil – and if bodies are located, he said he will be relieved to see victims get the burial they deserve.
“People have the right to give these people a good and decent burial. The way it should be,” Cravens said.