Bodies to be exhumed at cemetery in an effort to identify Tulsa Race Massacre victims

Some of the 19 bodies taken from the Tulsa cemetery and later reburied, which may contain the remains of victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, will be reburied Wednesday, part of a bid to collect more DNA for possible identification.

The latest excavation of the bodies, some of which were taken last year from Oklawan Cemetery in northeastern Oklahoma City, will be followed by another excavation for additional remains.

According to city spokeswoman Michelle Brooks, “14 of the 19 (bodies) were those that met the criteria for further DNA analysis.” “These are the ones who will be taken out again.”

The 14 sets of remains were sent to Intermountain Forensics in Salt Lake City, Utah in an attempt to identify them. Brooks said enough DNA has been recovered to begin sequencing in the two sets.

Brooks said it was not immediately clear how many of the 14 would be fired a second time.

The remains will be re-buried in Oaklone, where a previous rebellion sparked protests from about two dozen people who said they are descendants of massacre victims and should be allowed to attend the ceremony, which was closed to the public.

Intermountain Forensics is looking for people who believe they are descendants of massacre victims to provide genetic material to help scientists when they begin trying to identify the remains of potential victims.

After the excavation, a further search of the bodies will be carried out in 2020 and 2021 in the area south and west of the previously excavated areas.

None of the remains recovered so far have been confirmed to have been the victims of the massacre in which more than 1,000 homes were burned, hundreds were looted and a thriving business district known as Black Wall Street was destroyed. happened.

Historians who studied the incident estimate the death toll to be between 75 and 300.

The victims were never compensated. Although, a pending lawsuit seeks compensation for the remaining three known avoid violenceViola Fletcher, Hughes Van Ellis and Lacey Benningfield.

The lawsuit, filed in Oklahoma by the three survivors as well as other descendants, alleges that “the death, destruction and exploitation of the inequalities created by the defendants … resulted in their unjust enrichment at the expense of these communities.” ” The city of Tulsa has argued that it should not have been ordered to pay compensation because its current residents did not participate in the massacre.

To hear the stories of survivors and descendants of Tulsa massacre victims, watch “Tulsa 1921: An American Tragedy” in the video below:

“Tulsa 1921: An American Tragedy”


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