HBO’s Watchmen launched with a depiction of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, an event largely unknown to the public at large until The Atlantic published a piece (read by showrunner Damon Lindelof) on the horrific event. And following the season finale (with a prevailing Hooded Justice), researchers in Tulsa who’ve been investigating the aftermath of the Black Wall Street bombing believe they discovered a mass grave in the city. The existence of such evidence has been the subject of speculation for decades among Tulsa residents, and investigations have been ongoing. However, the fact that this information is surfacing right after Sunday’s season finale is, well, some wild timing.
The official death toll of the Tulsa Race Massacre — a two-day event begun by a white mob and concluded by the National Guard after the governor declared martial law — stands at 36, although investigators have long searched for evidence of a number in the hundreds. NBC News now reports that researchers made a statement about evidence of a possible mass grave during a hearing this week:
Geophysical scanning identified two spots at the Oaklawn Cemetery that might bear bodies of those killed in the city’s race riots almost 100 years ago, Scott Hammerstedt, a senior researcher for the Oklahoma Archeological Survey, said Monday at a public hearing in Tulsa.
Surveys confirmed suspicions that one area might be a grave, in addition to a newly discovered trench under the soil of about 30 by 25 feet.
Not only did the researchers find possible evidence of this mass grave, but they’re seeking permission to scan the grounds of nearby Booker T. Washington Cemetery, which they believe could turn up another discovery. NBC News also accompanied their report with their interview of Lindelof prior to series launch. The creator and writer then declared that race “undeniably” remains the issue creating the most anxiety in the United States. Further, he stated, “Superheroes cannot defeat racism.” Only one superpowered being existed in Watchmen, and that would be Doctor Manhattan, who was hiding out in the body of a Black man in Tulsa for much of the season.
During the Watchmen season finale, the series finally gave Will Reeves, a survivor of the massacre, the justice he sought by eliminating the white supremacist Seventh Kavalry group, who were an extension of the Cyclops organization with (as rendered in the series) strong ties to the 1921 atrocity. Reeves went on to become Hooded Justice, the first costumed vigilante in the Watchmen universe, although he only appeared in the the supplemental pages of the graphic novel. Notably, Lindelof rewrote this character as a Black man, and in doing so, the series reshaped the source material to “rewrite” history. That is what is also, apparently, being done in Tulsa with the possible discovery of a mass grave for an event that history long hoped to bury.
(Via NBC News)