Tulsa, Oklahoma, is seeing an increased level of attention since the hit HBO show Watchmen—featuring ESSENCE’s December cover star Regina King—made its premiere with a focus on the city. But now the town most closely associated with a racial massacre in 1921 is receiving closer scrutiny for another reason.
According to NBC News, experts at the University of Oaklahoma believe they may have found a mass grave site from the Tulsa Race Massacre at a city cemetery. The number of bodies potentially buried there is unknown.
The report says that the site was found at the Oaklawn Cemetary. Details were released by Scott Hammerstedt of the Oklahoma Archeological Survey. A estimation of the body count is anywhere between 10 and 100. They also believe there could be another mass gravesite below the grounds of Booker T. Washington Cemetary in Tulsa.
Investigations into the graves began in October 2018 when the city’s mayor G.T. Bynum initiated the search. At the time he told NBC that the massacre was “a point of shame for our community.”
The Tulsa Race Massacre was an all-out assault on Black entrepreneurship, Black prosperity, and Black life as a whole. Tulsa once played home to one of the richest Black communities in the country before being burned to the ground by an angry white mob who completely destroyed the epicenter of Black business over a two-day event.
In recent years the city of Tulsa has seen a revitalization. The year 2018 marked the launch of a George Kaiser Family Foundation-backed initiative where grant money was given to the city to develop Tulsa Remote, a program that offers $10k to remote workers who commit to moving to Tulsa for a year. Following the success of its first year, which garnered over 10,000 applicants, the program is tripling in size to welcome between 250-300 new Tulsans for 2020.