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1921 Tulsa Identification Project

Our nonprofit DNA laboratory is honored to assist the City of Tulsa in identifying victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. A number of massacre victims were buried in unmarked graves. As part of an important effort to identify victims, the City exhumed a number of bodies in the summer of 2021.

 

Before we can start the work of identification, we are asking for help from anyone with information regarding stories, records, and more. We are especially interested in those that had family members in Tulsa in 1921.

Photo Credit: Universal History Archive / Getty Images

1921 Tulsa
Race Massacre

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Photo Credit: Tulsa Historical Society

On June 1, 1921, it is estimated that hundreds of Black residents and businesspersons in the Greenwood District of Tulsa were slain in one of the worst single-incident acts of racial violence in United States history. More than 1,200 homes were burned, and nearly all of the businesses in the thriving "Black Wall Street" were destroyed.

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Photo Credit: National Archives

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A thorough account of the Tulsa Race Massacre including timelines, first hand accounts, historical documents and more.

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Information on the progress of the 1921 Graves Project investigation provided by the City of Tulsa

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Black Wall Street and Tulsa Race Massacre historical documents and classroom resources

Other Resources
 

We need your help.

Information collection prior to our genealogical work is an important part of this process. The more information we are able to gather regarding families from 1921, the greater chances we have of identification.

Whether you have family stories, have taken a DNA test, would like to take one or have a family tree (digital or written), we would love to hear from you.

Please consider providing any information you feel might be helpful via our online form below.

If you need assistance to complete the form, please visit any one of the Tulsa City-County Library locations.

How to Upload your DNA Information to GEDmatch

Help us cover DNA Testing costs associated with this project.  Donating to our organization ensures that we keep our costs low, but more importantly allows to assist groups and organizations with DNA services that they may not be able to afford.

 
 
 

Our Role

Our nonprofit DNA laboratory is honored to assist the City of Tulsa in identifying victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

We firmly believe in transparency, and in acknowledging the historic nature of this project, we will be documenting our progress extensively as we move throughout the 3 phases of proposed work.

1. Processing

The first phase of the project should take about a month, depending on the condition of the remains, to complete.  This includes receiving the materials, extraction and then quanitification of DNA from the materials in order to create a DNA profile.

2. Analysis

This phase should take about 42-60 days after the processing tasks have been completed.  This includes reviewing the DNA profiles created and conducting genomic sequencing in order to create a comprehensive DNA profile of the individual remains being tested.

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3. Genealogy

This is the longest phase of our project and will take 60-120 days (at a minimum) after phase 2 is completed.  Once a comprehensive DNA profile is created it then goes to our team of Forensic Investigative Genetic Genealogists to create family trees and identify potential descendants.

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Thank you to our Partners

A project of this scale is not done by one organization alone.  We have been very lucky to have some amazing partners join us.  We will try to keep this list updated as much as possible to reflect those organizations and individuals who have given assistance.

Our Forensic Investigative Genetic Genealogy work is conducted by a team of highly engaged volunteers.  In addition to our FIGG team at the Utah Cold Case Coalition, we would also like to thank the following organizations for assisting in the 1921 Tulsa Identification Project:

Margaret Press and her team at DNA Doe Project

Colleen Fitzpatrick at Identifinders International

CeCe Moore at DNA Detectives