Tulsan Feels “At Peace” As Archeologists Search For Mass Graves

Monday, October 7th 2019, 8:22 pm
By: Amy Slanchik

Work at Oaklawn Cemetery will continue early Tuesday to find possible mass graves from the Tulsa Race Massacre.

About 50 people showed up to watch the Oklahoma Archeological Survey do its work Monday to start learning what is underground.

The Public Oversight Committee overseeing the investigation into possible mass graves wants people to watch the searches in an effort of transparency.

For those who showed up to Oaklawn Cemetery, seeing equipment from the Oklahoma Archeological Survey was visible a sign of progress.

"For so long the feeling has been that nobody wanted to talk about it, nobody wanted to deal with it,” Tulsan Eugene Martin said.

Martin said his great uncle, Bob Perryman, was killed in his early 30s during the massacre. Martin believes Perryman could be buried at Oaklawn.

"His mother is actually at buried at Crown Hill. And it would be something for the ages if he could be -- that his body could be moved to that location,” Martin said.

While it is expected to take months to learn what is underground at Oaklawn Cemetery, people like Billie Parker believe it is important to watch the work being done.

"It'll help Oklahoma, because we're so divided here,” Parker said.

Parker said like many, she did not learn about the massacre until later in life and looks forward to keeping up with all the developments in this investigation.

"One day in life, before I die in Tulsa, Oklahoma, I would love to see us come together as one. And to recognize and realize that we all gotta work this together,” Parker said.

Martin said being at the cemetery while the work is getting started has brought him a feeling of peace, something he said he has not experienced until now.

He said others may feel it too and encourages everyone to attend future searches for mass graves.

"I have a feeling of being at peace just the fact that there is an effort to uncover the truth,” Martin said.

Once the team finishes its search at Oaklawn, they will move on to Newblock Park. They also plan to search two other sites where there could be mass graves.

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