Tulsa Mayor Proposes Major Increase In Funding For 1921 Graves Investigation

The City of Tulsa's proposed budget for the next fiscal year allocates $1 million to the 1921 Graves Investigation for excavation and DNA analysis work. 

Tuesday, April 26th 2022, 7:41 pm


Tulsa Mayor GT Bynum plans to set aside $1 million of the city's budget for the 1921 Race Massacre Graves Investigation. The City Council would still have to approve that funding.

The 1921 Race Massacre Graves Investigation has big plans going forward. Public Oversight Committee Chair Kavin Ross said he is excited to say, pending city council approval, they will have money to pay for those plans. "This is assuredness from the city; and it's been a long time coming,” Ross said.

Archeologists plan to go back to Oaklawn Cemetery to do more excavation work, but there is no timeline yet on when that will happen. They also want to excavate at Newblock Park and the Canes area, which is a homeless encampment just west of downtown along the Arkansas River.

Then, there is the cost of DNA analysis for remains already found. The mayor announced the million dollar decision at last week's city council meeting.

“The City of Tulsa is contributing to this important work in a way it never has before. It is important that we not just plan, but act,” Bynum said in his speech.

"It shows the city that its being very serious towards the effort, you know. It shows that the city wants closure as well as its citizens,” Ross said. $1 million is more money than the investigation had to work with over the last three years combined. Looking back at fiscal years 2020, 2021 and 2022, the city set aside more than $800,000.

The city said any unused money can carry over and be used in the future. The entire proposed City of Tulsa budget for the next fiscal year, is nearly $945 million.

Ross said the next public meeting is expected to be in May. That is when people can learn more about the DNA analysis process and get any updates on the investigation.


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