The search for the remains of victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre continued for a fifth day Friday, and although the excavation at a cemetery in the city has yet to yield human remains, those involved remained optimistic.
“I know that it seems like we're coming up dry every day, but the thing is we're finding information and clues that basically tell us stories of years gone by,” said Brenda Alford, the granddaughter of two survivors of the massacre and chair of an oversight committee for the search. “I'm very, very excited about the processes we're going through.”
State Archaeologist Kary Stackelbeck said crews have opened two trenches and on Friday uncovered a previously unknown paved road. Once investigators determine when that road was built, that could offer clues on what happened in that area, and when.
Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum, who in October 2018 announced plans to search for graves of the victims, said the search is just beginning.
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“This is the early stage of a long-term commitment by the city of Tulsa.” Bynum said. “Best case scenario happened, we found human remains on day one this week, it would still be a long-term investigation to determine their cause of death, to try and match their DNA with those of descendants, this is a multi-year project.”
On May 31 and June 1 in 1921, white residents looted and burned Tulsa’s black Greenwood District, killing as many as 300 people.