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More bodies found in mass grave that officials say was created during Tulsa race massacre

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Posted at 8:51 AM, Jun 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-04 10:50:19-04

TULSA, Okla. — Five more burials were found during an excavation Thursday in a mass grave at a Tulsa cemetery that officials say was created during the 1921 Tulsa race massacre.

The findings on Thursday were just the latest burials discovered amid the excavation at Oaklawn Cemetery in Tulsa, dating back to last year. They also come as the country commemorated the 100th anniversary of the deadly riots earlier this week.

According to Kary Stackelbeck, State Archaeologist of the State of Oklahoma, the additional burials bring the total number of people known to be buried in the mass grave to be 20. Twelve burials were discovered during the test excavation last year in October.

After searches for mass graves continued on June 1, the excavation team expanded their research area to try and find graves in the southeastern corner of the cemetery after evidence showed they were near a grave shaft. It was there they found additional burials.

The search for burials is a part of the 1921 Graves Investigation that the city of Tulsa is conducting to try and locate victims of the Tulsa race massacre.

After the excavation stage, the research team will document their findings and then send the remains to be tested for DNA to see if they can be linked to the Tulsa Race Massacre. More information about finding mass graves can be found on the City of Tulsa's website.

To keep up with the latest updates in the excavation process, follow the 1921 Graves' Facebook page.

This story was originally published by Emily Farris on Scripps station KJRH in Tulsa.