A native Tulsan who wrote one the first widely read accounts of the 1921 Race Massacre has published a new book on the search for mass graves.
Scott Ellsworth’s book “The Ground Breaking” delivers an accounting of what’s now known about the massacre, with the latest information about the grave search that found a common grave in Oaklawn Cemetery.
Ellsworth said he first heard of the “riot” as it was called then, when he was a teenager growing up in Tulsa.
"I had heard things, young as a kid, growing up and later in college, I really wanted to find out what happened, and I'm still doing that,” he said.
A key moment for him was making contact with a survivor who gave him a three hour interview recounting the events of 1921.
“I wanted to bring to life some of these Tulsans who have been so important in keeping this story alive and making sure we tell the truth about it. There's been so much exaggeration and I wanted to write a book to help set the record straight," Ellsworth said.
With a new focus on the Tulsa Race Massacre because of the centennial and search for graves, Ellsworth said he’s encouraged to see Tulsa embracing the effort to find out more about what happened and determine if it’s possible to find and identify any victims.
“They were never told where these people were buried. They couldn't go the funerals. And I think it's important as a city to bring them back, and to rebury them with honor and to properly memorialize them” said Ellsworth.
The book is available at bookstores now, and Magic City Books is hosting an online event with Ellsworth to mark the release on May 18th.
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