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Tulsans Have Not Forgotten The Massacre Victims In Oaklawn Cemetary

Tulsans Have Not Forgotten The Massacre Victims In Oaklawn Cemetary

To the Editor:

Re: “A Whistle Blew About 5:00 A.M., And The Invasion Of Greenwood Began” (front page, Jul. 21):

Thanks for publishing Ross Johnson’s excellent article about the dismissal of the lawsuit brought by the three surviving victims of the Tulsa Race Massacre.

By issuing the dismissal order late Friday, July 7, Judge Carolyn Wall caused it to be relegated to the reduced weekend news cycle. Then, on Monday, July 10, the City of Tulsa grabbed the news cycle by suddenly announcing a quick two-day renewed dig for Massacre victims at the Oaklawn Cemetery. By these possibly coordinated actions, many people across the county who were interested in the survivor’s lawsuit are unaware it has been swept under the rug.

It increasingly appears that the City of Tulsa’s Graves Investigation is a con game designed to create the false impression that the City is truly interested in finding Massacre victims. The Investigation has been arbitrarily reduced to a mere search for the Original 18, Massacre victims whose identities are known. The University of Oklahoma’s State Archeologist, Dr. Kary Stackelbeck, has quietly announced that Oaklawn is no longer even considered a mass grave. The Oaklawn dig is now being turned on and off according to public relations needs.

Meanwhile, after four years absolutely nothing has been done to explore for victims at Newblock Park or other sites suspected of containing mass graves. No technical tests. No digging. It has been seventeen months since Scott Ellsworth, Dr. Stackelbeck and Dr. Phoebe Stubblefield officially recommended that testing at Newblock proceed. Crickets. Basically, the Oaklawn dig has been used as a big public distraction.

Searching for the so-called Original 18 amounts to a “limited hangout,” Finding them cannot damage the City of Tulsa’s public image, because we already know they are somewhere in Oaklawn. Finding a mass grave at Newblock with skeletons lined up shoulder-to-shoulder, hip-to-hip would be shattering. That cannot be allowed to occur.

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Everyone has been conned….again.

Randy Hopkins,

Portland, Oregon

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