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In Remembrance of the Tulsa Race Massacre

On this 102nd anniversary, we remember the victims of the Tulsa Race Massacre, honoring their lives and the resilience of a community scarred by tragedy. At Intermountain Forensics, we are humbled by the opportunity to contribute to the healing process through DNA identifications of the lost unearthed from the Oaklawn Cemetery. We hope that our scientific efforts will not only unveil the truth of the past but also ignite a collective commitment to justice, understanding, and unity in the present.

The 1921 Tulsa DNA Project is just as much about the living as it is about the lives lost 102 years ago. While each day our investigations get closer and closer to identifying the individuals from Oaklawn Cemetery, we know that we would not be where we are in this process without the help and support from the community of Tulsa and specifically from those whose families hail from the Greenwood District.

We have been privileged to have met and worked with so many individuals who have dedicated their lives to speaking truth to what happened in their community so long ago. There is one, however, who has touched our hearts and inspired us more than any other; one who we lost this last month, J. Kavin Ross. Chairman of the Mass Graves Investigation Public Oversight Committee, Kavin was a frequent public speaker about the 1921 graves project. A dedicated historian, teacher, and photojournalist, he was tireless in his quest to educate others about the Tulsa Race Massacre from recording the stories of survivors to ensuring that those stories were never forgotten. He was on site every day of excavations at Oaklawn, overseeing the care of the remains and teaching visitors to the site about how important this step was in preserving the history of the massacre. Many of us at Intermountain Forensics have fond memories of listening to Kavin tell about his family and how Greenwood has been a part of the tapestry of their history. He will be greatly missed, not only for his hearty laugh and bear hugs, but also for his stewardship of this project.

Kavin Ross (right) retelling his family history to Alison Wilde (left), 1921 Tulsa DNA Genealogy Team Lead, in December 2022.

J. Kavin Ross passed away on May 8, 2023. He leaves behind a profound legacy. A legacy that reminds us that what was unspoken in the past should not remain so. 102 years may have passed since the Tulsa Race Massacre happened, but it has left wounds that are still felt to this day. We hope that for our part in this investigation, we can help continue to carry a torch to speak truth to history, to give back the names to those who were lost.

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