17 Burials Found at Oaklawn Cemetery

News 6 - November 1, 2022 6:44 am

 – Archeologists discovered 17 unmarked burials at Oaklawn Cemetery in the search for possible victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

Archeologists are not calling this a mass grave.

At the beginning of this latest excavation, the team said it wanted to search to the west and to the south of where they were last summer. Now, they are finding burials in both of those areas.

The City of Tulsa waited until Monday to reveal archeologists found a total of 17 burials on Friday and Saturday.

State Archeologist Dr. Kary Stackelbeck said they were found in two different areas.

She said 12 adult burials were found to the west of where Rueben Everett and Eddie Lockard’s headstones are located.

Those are two known massacre victims, but archeologists have said they are not sure if the two are in fact buried there.

Scientists also revisited the area where they said one man with multiple gunshot wounds was found last summer, and started to expand their search south of that.

On Saturday, that effort proved to be profitable to the team.

“Within that trench we’ve now exposed an additional five graves that are adult size as well,” Stackelbeck said.

The team from Stantec Inc., formerly known as “Cardno” is back to help with the investigation.

From the fence at the cemetery, they could be seen sifting with their equipment today. From the air, Osage SkyNews 6 showed several archeologists in the pit that is west of Rueben and Eddie’s headstones.

Stackelbeck said going forward, a lot of work will be done by hand.

“To clean up those coffins and so that we can get a better sense of each one of those graves. In order to get a sense of the construction style, the shape, whether or not there’s any kind of hardware that’s present,” she said.

That work done by hand is what will help scientists determine which burials to remove, and which they might leave in place.


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