The city also likely will be issuing a request for proposals for DNA analysis services. The committee agreed Tuesday night to hear from an expert on the subject but appeared eager to go forward with testing the Oaklawn remains for genetic material.
Those remains are expected to be skeletal, but University of Florida forensic anthropologist Phoebe Stubblefield, a member of the research team, said she is fairly optimistic that DNA can be recovered.
Stubblefield warned, however, that genetic material in century-old remains can be badly degraded or contaminated.
“We won’t know until we start testing,” she said.
No member of the current research team is trained in DNA analysis, which is why those services must be contracted.
Brown also informed the committee that University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma Geological Survey researchers hope to begin subsurface scanning at Rolling Oaks Memorial Gardens in south Tulsa. Once a Blacks-only cemetery, it has long been suggested as a possible burial location for riot dead.
Records indicate that at least 18 African Americans killed in the massacre were buried in Oaklawn, although the location has long since been forgotten.
The location of two nearby tombstones bearing the names of two men known to have been killed in the massacre has been one of the few clues.
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