US Tulsa protesters condemn reburial of remains excavated in search of massacre victims

04:16  01 august  2021
04:16  01 august  2021 Source:   thehill.com

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As many as 300 people were killed in Tulsa in 1921 when a white mob destroyed a prosperous neighbourhood known as Black Wall Street. Others protesting Friday’s reburial called for a criminal investigation. “The found remains – a skull with a bullet hole – that seems like you’re just beginning to get somewhere“ A forensic anthropologist, Phoebe Stubblefield, said a bullet was found with one set of remains that had trauma to the body, including to the head. Stubblefield said none of the remains have been confirmed as massacre victims , although forensic and DNA evidence has been collected.

Nadir of Americanrace relations. White mob attack in the Atlanta Massacre of 1906. v. t. e. The Tulsa race massacre (known alternatively as the Tulsa race riot, the Greenwood Massacre

Protests erupted outside a Tulsa, Okla., cemetery on Friday as officials reburied the remains of 19 people previously exhumed in a search for victims from city's 1921 race massacre.

a bench in a park: Tulsa protesters condemn reburial of remains excavated in search of massacre victims © Getty Images Tulsa protesters condemn reburial of remains excavated in search of massacre victims

The demonstrators argued that the city should have held a funeral ceremony.

The city began excavating portions of Tulsa's Oaklawn Cemetery last year as part of an effort to find unmarked graves from the violence that occurred a century ago when a white mob stormed a predominantly Black area known as "Black Wall Street."

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Since the excavation resumed Monday, archeologists had found one set of human remains and a possible second set. But investigators have not confirmed whether any of the remains belong to the victims of the 1921 massacre . "We still have a lot of work to do to identify the nature of that mass grave and identify who is in it, but what we do know, as of today, is that there is a mass grave in Oaklawn Cemetery where we have no record of anyone being buried," Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said Wednesday in a news conference.

Oaklawn Cemetery in north Tulsa , where a search for remains of victims ended without success in July and where the excavation resumed Monday, is near the Greenwood District where the massacre took place. The violence took place on May 31 and June 1 in 1921, when a white mob attacked Tulsa ’s Black Wall Street, killing an estimated 300, mostly Black, people and wounding 800 more while robbing and burning businesses, homes and churches. The massacre — which happened two years after what is known as the “Red Summer,” when hundreds of African Americans died at the hands of white mobs

About 35 city blocks were destroyed in the rampage, and while Oklahoma originally recorded 36 deaths in the attack, a 2001 commission revealed that the number of fatalities could actually be as high as 300.

The city said in a statement Friday that in March, a public oversight committee approved the reburial of the remains after it said that "on-site forensic analysis, documentation and DNA sampling were complete."

The city moved forward Friday with carrying out the reburial in a process closed to the public, prompting pushback from the community.

Demonstrators argued that local residents, particularly those who are descendants of massacre victims, should have had more of a voice in deciding how the reburial would be carried out.

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An archeological team searching for victims of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre uncovered remains at a cemetery in the city, a report said Tuesday. The archeologists employed by the state of Oklahoma said they located a grave shaft along with the remains in the Oaklawn Cemetery, which is believed to be The team of archeologists are now analyzing the remains to determine if they are indeed a victim of the massacre , in which some 300 people were killed as white residents of the city lynched blacks and burned businesses to the ground. “I am very grateful to have the foremost experts in the country

The second excavation for victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre began in Tulsa , Okla., on Monday. (Source: KJRH/CNN). “What we were finding was an indication that we were inside a large area a large hole that had been excavated and into which several individuals had been placed Combined with one set of remains found nearby on Tuesday, there have now been at least 11 bodies discovered, according to Stackelbeck. University of Florida forensic anthropologist Phoebe Stubblefield, a descendent of a massacre survivor who is assisting in the search , said patience is needed before

One of the protesters, Bobby Eaton, told local ABC affiliate KTUL, "It's disgusting and disrespectful that these are our family members and we are outside of the gate and they are inside of the gate where they are."

"We don't care what all the big time city officials say, it's all about our loved ones who suffered here," he added.

Forensic anthropologist Phoebe Stubblefield attempted to calm the crowd Friday.

Stubblefield revealed last month that a bullet was found among one set of remains that had trauma to the body.

"We are not done, we have not stopped," she told protesters, adding that a public report on the investigation's findings would likely be released in the fall, according to The Associated Press.

Friday's public statement issued by the city noted that it "remains committed to transparency during this investigation and is focused on fulfilling our commitment to this phase of work that is still underway, as we have for the past two years of the investigation."

The city went on to say that it was required to "abide by the permit requirements that were filed with the Oklahoma State Department of Health and the Tulsa County District Attorney's Office, stating the remains would be temporarily interred at Oaklawn Cemetery (an interment plan was required before moving forward with the excavation)."

City spokesperson Michelle Brooks added that "work to identify descendants and establish a permanent memorial will proceed in the future," according to the wire service.

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