Third Excavation In Oaklawn Starts In Ongoing Search For Race Massacre Victims

The search for victims continues at Oaklawn Cemetery - more than a century after documents say 18 race massacre victims were buried there.

Tuesday, September 5th 2023, 8:44 pm



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Archeologists are back in Tulsa, searching for victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

This is the third full excavation since work started years ago and is expected to last all month long.

The search for victims continues at Oaklawn Cemetery - more than a century after documents say 18 race massacre victims were buried there.

"We are trying to find people who were murdered and buried in a cemetery amidst people who died of natural causes and were buried in the same place," said Mayor GT Bynum.

The team on the ground is now focused on an area to the east of what is known as "The Original 18" site.

Now - they're looking near the "Clyde Eddy" area. Eddy, a 10-year-old at the time, witnessed digging in this area of the cemetery, and saw black victims in several wooden crates.

"Dr. Stubblefield had actually gone out to the cemetery with Clyde Eddy in 2005. She took some photographs while she was out there. The photographs that she took from that visit line up very nicely with the location that we are right now, that we're gonna be excavating," said Dr. Kary Stackelbeck.

State Archeologist Dr. Kary Stackelbeck says during the test excavation in this area in July, the team found three grave shafts, and several makeshift markers.

 "Singular bricks that were positioned to be just like standing upright rather than like laying flat. We had one and then we had another and then we had another until we ended up actually exposing a row of these," said Dr. Stackelbeck.

A thousand miles away in Salt Lake City, work is still being done at a DNA lab studying remains found at Oaklawn.

On Tuesday, the mayor announced another surname the lab is interested in, with a connection to one of the burials. Anyone with a family name "Traylor" that has roots in Louisiana or Bowie County, Texas, is encouraged to reach out to the city.

The team plans to use heavy equipment out here for the rest of the week. Then, the focus will shift to more delicate work by hand.

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