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Library Of Congress Updates Tulsa Race Massacre Language

The Rev. Robert Turner of Vernon A.M.E. Church prays at Oaklawn Cemetery after learning that scientists found a mass grave during an excavation in the search for victims from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.
Bethany Mollenk
/
National Geographic
The Rev. Robert Turner of Vernon A.M.E. Church prays at Oaklawn Cemetery after learning that scientists found a mass grave during an excavation in the search for victims from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

The Tulsa Race Massacre will be stripped of its old name - the Tulsa Race Riot - in libraries worldwide. The University of Oklahoma played a pivotal role in the new moniker.

The term Tulsa Race Massacre has largely replaced the riot label here in Oklahoma. Now it will be applied in libraries world wide.

The move was announced by the Library of Congress after OU librarians lobbied for the change.

The librarians had to demonstrate the term was being used more widely and that massacre was more accurate than riot.

 

“I’m proud of OU Libraries’ pivotal role in petitioning the Library of Congress to change their subject listing from ‘Tulsa Race Riot’ to ‘Tulsa Race Massacre,’” said Karlos Hill, associate professor and chair of the Clara Luper Department of African and African American Studies in the OU College of Arts and Sciences. “In making this small but significant shift, the Library of Congress is helping to bring forward a more historically accurate perspective of what actually occurred.”

 

The Tulsa Race Massacre occurred over several days in 1921 when a mob of white people destroyed businesses and killed an untold number of Black people in Tulsa’s Greenwood District.

 

The Library of Congress’ subject headings are used in libraries across the globe and will ensure that researchers into the massacre will know it by its proper title.

 

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