Sunrise Vigil at OSU-Tulsa to commemorate 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre
Oklahoma State University-Tulsa will commemorate the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre with a sunrise vigil starting at 5 a.m. on June 1 at the Ellis Walker Woods Memorial. The Race Massacre took place on May 31 and June 1, 1921, when a white mob attacked and destroyed Tulsa’s prosperous Black Greenwood District.
“5:08 – A Sunrise Vigil” will mark the exact time on the morning of June 1 when witnesses recount hearing a train whistle or similar sound, which was interpreted as a signal for the full invasion of the Greenwood District to begin.
The vigil is open to all OSU students, faculty and staff, as well as the public. Participants will hear brief remarks and readings of statements from survivors, then have space to share their thoughts or remain in silent contemplation and remembrance. Attendees who wish to sit are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket.
The OSU-Tulsa campus is located on part of the more than 35 blocks of Black-owned homes and businesses that were destroyed during the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Up to 300 lives were lost during the massacre, with thousands more injured and left homeless. The Ellis Walker Woods Memorial is dedicated to the first principal of Booker T. Washington High School, who provided assistance and shelter to survivors at the school.
Parking is free on campus and available in Lot A or B. In case of rain, the event will be held in the OSU-Tulsa Main Hall Commons. The vigil, part of 100 Points of Truth and Transformation, will also be live streamed on OSU-Tulsa’s Facebook page.
Black Settlers in Tulsa exhibit special hours
“Black Settlers in Tulsa: The Search for the Promised Land,” an exhibit featuring photography by Don Thompson and oral histories by Eddie Faye Gates, will have special public viewing hours during the weekend of the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial.
The exhibit, which was recently moved to the gallery space outside the B.S. Roberts Room in the OSU-Tulsa Conference Center, will be open from 1-3 p.m. Saturday, May 29 and Sunday, May 30. The exhibit’s regular hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
OSU-Tulsa Library Race Massacre archives available
The OSU-Tulsa Library’s Ruth Sigler Avery Tulsa Race Massacre Collection continues to be available by appointment to researchers and members of the public. The archive includes photos, correspondence, article and audio recordings documenting the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.
Cinders in the Sky: The Legacy of the Tulsa Race Massacre is an online digital humanities exhibit created by OSU students utilizing photos from the Ruth Sigler Avery Tulsa Race Massacre Collection in addition to other primary sources. Additional photographs from the archive can be viewed online on the OSU Library Digital Collections website.
Make an appointment to view the collection by calling 918-594-8130 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media Contact: Aaron Campbell | 918-594-8046 | email@example.com