The excavation for the victims’ graves started in July 2020 after historians, writers, political leaders, and community activists pushed officials to focus on one of the deadliest race massacres in history.
The newly found coffins and the remains will be examined to determine if they are Tulsa victims.
“This is going to part of our process of discriminating which ones we’re going to proceed with in terms of exhuming those individuals and which ones we’re actually going to leave in place,” Oklahoma State Archaeologist Kary Stackelbeck said in a statement, per the Associated Press.
In 1921, Tulsa’s then-thriving Greenwood District, known by many as Black Wall Street, was destroyed by a white mob during a massacre that left an estimated 300 Black people dead and businesses and homes burned to the ground.
For decades, the massacre was left out of history books, school curricula, and public attention until activists’ efforts proved successful
For years, the massacre that took place from May 31 to June 1, 1921, was left out of history books and school curriculums.
“This is a historic day for Tulsa and for our country,” Mayor G.T. Bynum previously said. “It should not have taken 99 years for us to be doing this investigation. But this generation of Tulsans is committed to doing what’s right by our neighbors, and following the truth wherever it leads us.”