1921 Tulsa Race Massacre

A motion to dismiss a case against Tulsa Regional Chamber and other entities brought by the three survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre was heard at Tulsa County Courthouse on Tuesday. 


There were so many people in attendance - many in purple Justice for Greenwood shirts - the hearing was delayed as a bigger courtroom was found. Once everyone was settled, Judge Caroline Wall said she knew the case was emotional and if spectators had to react they should step outside.


Siblings Who Survived Tulsa Race Massacre To Visit Africa

Aug 11, 2021
Matt Trotter / KWGS

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Two siblings who survived the Tulsa Race Massacre are going to visit Africa for the first time, fulfilling a lifelong dream.

Viola Fletcher, 107, and her 100-year-old brother Hughes Van Ellis are scheduled to fly to Ghana on Friday and return Aug. 21. They will be accompanied by family members and others.

The all-expenses-paid trip to Accra is being co-sponsored by Our Black Truth, a Virginia-based social media platform, and the Diaspora Africa Forum in Ghana, the Tulsa World reports.

Members of an oversight committee in Tulsa’s search for mass graves holding victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre expressed to city councilors their displeasure over last week’s reinterment of remains.

The committee held a meeting July 27 after being invited to a reburial ceremony at Oaklawn Cemetery and voted to postpone it. The reinterment happened last Friday.

Greenwood Rising Finally Opens Its Doors To The Public

Aug 4, 2021

After some delays, Greenwood Rising, a history center dedicated to educating visitors on the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, had its grand opening for the public today. 


Phil Armstrong is the project director. 


“Today is really just allowing for the public to finally see what six years of planning looks like.”


An emotional scene unfolded at Oaklawn Cemetery today during the city's reinterment of remains excavated during the search for 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre victims. 


Kristi Williams is a member of the Graves Investigation Public Oversight Committee. She protested the reinterment, and said the remains shouldn’t be buried yet because they haven’t been identified.  


Our guest is Carlos Moreno, a Tulsa-based graphic designer, researcher, and freelance writer who originally hails from California, and who's been living and working in Tulsa since the 1990s. Moreno joins us to discuss his new book, "The Victory of Greenwood." This volume presents a novel and engrossing history of Tulsa's Greenwood community by offering more than 20 different biographical portraits of such key "Black Wall Street" figures as John and Loula Williams, B.C. Franklin, the Rev. Ben H. Hill, Edwin McCabe, George Monroe, and various others.

Facebook / Justice For Greenwood Foundation

The legal team representing the three known living survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre in a lawsuit for reparations for the attack and its ongoing harm said they may bring additional litigation regarding the city of Tulsa's oversight of the search for massacre victims' remains.


An online store that pays homage to Black Wall Street is open for a limited brick-and-mortar run, and it’s trying to raise the profile of other local, Black-owned brands, too.

City of Tulsa

Researchers said Tuesday that they have now uncovered 15 more burials in an Oaklawn Cemetery mass grave since an October test excavation revealed 12 in their search for 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre victims, bringing the total to 27 presumed sets of remains with still more "very likely" to be discovered.

"We were able to then come back today and actually initiate the process of excavation on some of the individual burials," Dr. Kary Stackelbeck, Oklahoma's state archaeologist, said during a press briefing at the Tulsa Fire Museum adjacent to the cemetery.

On today's ST, we are discussing a new book on race relations and American history that offers a bold, thorough, and eye-opening critique of our nation's criminal justice apparatus, its police operations, and indeed its entire legal system. Our guest is the well-regarded historian Elizabeth Hinton, who is an associate professor of history and African American studies at Yale University as well as a professor of law at Yale Law School.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

With the national spotlight off Tulsa following substantial media coverage of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre centennial anniversary and President Joe Biden's visit to Greenwood to commemorate it, advocates for reparations for survivors and descendants say they aren't going anywhere.

City of Tulsa

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Crews searching a Tulsa cemetery for victims of the 1921 Race Massacrefound five more coffins on Thursday, bringing to 20 the number of coffins found at a mass-grave feature there, city officials said Thursday.

Councilor Joe Deere

The Cherokee Nation Tribal Councilor representing the district that includes much of the historic Greenwood neighborhood destroyed in the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre says he believes reparations are due to the attack's survivors and descendants.

Councilor Joe Deere welcomed attendees of the Black Wall Street Legacy Festival's main event on Sunday at the Oklahoma State University - Tulsa campus to the Cherokee Nation reservation.

Oklahoma Historical Society

Updated June 3, 10:10 a.m. to reflect Councilor Kara Joy McKee's response to Greg Robinson during the meeting.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa City Councilors are set to consider a resolution Wednesday to apologize and commit to making tangible amends for the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and for discriminatory policies that followed and caused further harm to north Tulsa.

That work includes setting up a process for the community to develop recommendations to aid reconciliation. 

Our guest is the Tulsa-based pianist and composer, Barron Ryan, who tells us about his new piano trio, "My Soul is Full of Troubles." Written for piano, violin, and cello -- and commissioned by Chamber Music Tulsa on the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre -- the work will have its world premiere on June 3rd at the Greenwood Cultural Center at 7pm. A second performance will be given on June 4th at noon at St. John's Episcopal Church, and this additional presentation will moreover be offered as a free Facebook livestream.

President Joe Biden on Tuesday became the first sitting president to visit Tulsa to commemorate the Tulsa Race Massacre, arguably the worst racist attack in American history.

White mobs, many deputized and armed by local officials, burned the Black community of Greenwood to the ground May 31 and June 1, 1921. They killed as many as 300 residents and took thousands more to internment camps.

Hundreds Gather To Pay Respects On Massacre Anniversary

Jun 1, 2021

On the 100th anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, light rain didn’t stop hundreds from paying their respects at a candlelight vigil.  

State Sen. Kevin Matthews, chair of the commission that organized the vigil, explained the significance of the 10:30 p.m. start time.

"10:30 was when the violence started," Matthews said. "We're going to go from 10:30 to 10:40, that first ten minutes of that terrible violence right here in the Greenwood area 100 years ago."

Matt Trotter / KWGS

According to official records, fewer than 40 people died during the Tulsa Race Massacre. But it’s believed white attackers killed as many as 300 people, with bodies dumped into mass graves and no record of what happened to them.

The Tulsa Community Remembrance Coalition and the Equal Justice Initiative have collected soil throughout Greenwood to commemorate massacre victims. The final collection event took place Monday, 100 years to the day after the massacre started.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The Oklahoma National Guard's first Black commander apologized Monday for their role in the Tulsa Race Massacre.

Speaking at a soil collection ceremony to memorialize unknown victims of the massacre, Adjutant Gen. Michael Thompson said he's proud of the uniform he's worn for 37 years, but 100 years ago wasn't the guard's proudest day.

Thompson took a moment to regain his composure before continuing.

The White House

President Joe Biden issued a proclamation Monday honoring the victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre 100 years later and vowing to work toward undoing systemic racism in the U.S.

Massacre Documentaries Offer Deep Dive Into Tragedy

May 30, 2021
City of Tulsa

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Several documentary filmmakers — some backed by NBA superstars — are shedding light on the historically ignored Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921, one of the most horrific tragedies in American history. 

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee's Office

The sponsor of a bill to create a federal commission studying reparations said she stands with those pursuing reparations for people affected by the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas said H.R.40 will also help the cause in Tulsa because the commission it establishes will look not only at slavery, but also state and local practices used to brutalize and disadvantage Black Americans.

At a luncheon today, Damario Solomon-Simmons, attorney for the three living survivors, said the nonprofit Justice for Greenwood will give each survivor payments as gifts.

"I'm excited to announce that a little bitty grassroot community north side organization will be granting a gift of $100,000 for each survivor," said Solomon-Simmons.

Solomon-Simmons is the founder of Justice for Greenwood. One of the organization's primary focuses is to gain reparations for massacre survivors and descendants. 

University of Tulsa

When the smoke cleared in June 1921, the toll from the massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was catastrophic — scores of lives lost, homes and businesses burned to the ground, a thriving Black community gutted by a white mob.

The nightmare cried out for attention, as something to be investigated and memorialized, with speeches and statues and anniversary commemorations.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

The Tulsa City Council announced Friday it would consider a resolution at its upcoming Wednesday meeting that would formally apologize for the past and ongoing harms caused by the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and launch a process to evaluate recommendations included in a 2001 state report that included an endorsement of reparation payments. 

John Hope Franklin National Symposium

One of the preeminent scholars of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre said Thursday that reparations for survivors and descendants are undeniably necessary.

"The fact of the matter is, without a doubt, the three remaining survivors of the massacre and the descendants of any and all survivors of the massacre deserve some form of financial restitution for what happened to them and their family in 1921," historian Scott Ellsworth said near the end of an address given as part of the John Hope Franklin National Symposium.

Library of Congress (American National Red Cross Photograph Collection)

The Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 injured souls, claimed lives, ruined property, and demolished an entire community. Indeed, the damage suffered by the Black citizens of Greenwood took on many forms -- and this suffering went on for decades. Is it possible even to calculate the economic loss that Greenwood endured due to this terrible tragedy, and if so, how could such a tally be arrived at? As the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre approaches, many are wondering about these questions. Our guest is Jason Long, an economic historian at Wheaton College.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

A new exhibit at the Gilcrease Museum lets visitors ask virtual versions of living Tulsa Race Massacre survivors about their experiences.

StoryFile and the Terence Crutcher Foundation present "The Legacy of Survival," which uses artificial intelligence and interviews with 106-year-old Lessie Benningfield "Mother" Randle and 107-year-old Viola "Mother" Fletcher to help them share their stories. Randle and Fletcher watched Thursday as their grandchildren, LaDonna Penny and Ike Howard, tested it out with their virtual counterparts.