Housed in the Oklahoma State Archives, this digital collection features 1,327 documents and images from various state government agencies, such as the governor’s office and the attorney general’s office, regarding the investigation into the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921. The collection includes, for example, eye-witness testimony, letters and telegrams, and police reports. It also includes documents about vice conditions, such as prostitution, gambling, and illegal drink, in Tulsa during the early 1920s.
This collection details one of the darkest episodes in Oklahoma History. The 1921 Tulsa Race Riot constituted two days of violence that left an unconfirmed number of dead citizens and destroyed 35 square blocks of the prosperous Greenwood neighborhood, once known as “Black Wall Street.” It never recovered. An examination of several telegrams between the National Guard’s office and the Tulsa police chief communicated events as they unfolded providing researchers with a vivid illustration of the night of May 31st.
The Tulsa Race Riot Reconciliation Commission, a state-appointed investigatory commission assembled in 2001, discovered the State Archives riot related documents and used them with regular frequency. Due to their rarity and preservation concerns it became of vital importance to digitize the collection. Several journal articles and books have been written incorporating these records.