Race riot commission decides against cemetery dig

Thursday, June 29th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(Tulsa-AP) -- The state panel investigating the 1921 Tulsa race riot won't dig for a suspected mass grave in a city cemetery after all.

The Tulsa Race Riot Commission voted today against a planned excavation in Oaklawn Cemetery.

The commission originally asked the state archaeologist to look for mass graves. It had received the city's permission to excavate a suspected site in the cemetery. But today, commission members questioned how that would aid their research.

It's already known that some black victims were buried in unmarked graves at Oaklawn. Survivors have told panel members that they're against excavating.

The commission decided to consider future excavations only if there are compelling reasons to do so.

The race riot commission is trying to clear up the mysteries about what happened when a white mob attacked Tulsa's black business district 79 years ago. It must report its findings to the state Legislature by next February.

For more information about the Oklahoma Historical Society's Tulsa Race Riot Commission, go to the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot Commission website.