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Episode 4: The Massacre

Tulsa Historical Society & Museum

This episode contains descriptions of graphic violence and racially offensive language.

Over two days — May 31 and June 1, 1921 — a mob of white attackers systematically looted Greenwood and burned it to the ground. Estimates vary, but reports say the marauders killed 100 to 300 people; and they left thousands homeless, faced with the daunting task of rebuilding. We experience the attack through the eyes of lawyer B.C. Franklin and reporter Mary Elizabeth Jones Parrish — each left personal, comprehensive written accounts of those terrible days.

We also hear how their experiences have affected their descendants. “They had a lot of family trauma,” says Parrish’s great-granddaughter Anneliese Bruner. “Some of these are behaviors that arise because of the chaos that is passed down from generation to generation. The responses and the symptoms are just the outward manifestation of the suffering that people are enduring and carrying around.”

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