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Tulsa Race Massacre

Dr. Scott Ellsworth, who joined the DAAS faculty in 2007, teaches courses on African American history, Southern literature, race and sports, and crime and justice in contemporary U.S. society. Trained as a historian, he received his Ph.D from Duke University in 1982, where he was a member of the Duke Oral History Program. The author of Death in a Promised Land, the first-ever comprehensive history of the horrific 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, Dr. Ellsworth is helping to lead the ongoing effort to uncover the unmarked graves of massacre victims. MORE


Unearthing Tulsa: 100 Years Later a conversation with Brent Staples, Fred Conrad and Scott Ellsworth

Maybe you’ve heard of the Tulsa Race Massacre. It was one of the most horrific examples of white supremacist terrorism in the history of the United States and knowledge of the event was actively suppressed for over fifty years. From May 31 to June 1, 1921, the Massacre saw the murder of hundreds of Black residents of the Greenwood neighborhood—a bustling and vibrant community known then as Black Wall Street—and more than one-thousand homes and businesses burned to the ground.

We invite you to revisit a moment in 1999 when the New York Times Magazine published Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Brent Staples' article "Unearthing a Riot," which was the most significant national media coverage of the event at the time. Portraits of survivors made by renowned photojournalist and U-M alumnus Fred Conrad accompanied this important essay. In this program, Staples and Conrad will be joined by U-M professor, best-selling author, and historian Scott Ellsworth, author of newly published book The Ground Breaking: An American City and Its Search for Justice, who will facilitate a conversation that will expand our understanding of what has been involved in making the history of Tulsa more visible and, by extension, illuminating the ever-present reality of racial terror in our country.

LSA News

Scott Ellsworth has spent the past 45 years listening to survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Massacre. In his new book, The Ground Breaking, Ellsworth delves into the massacre’s aftermath to uncover one of our country’s most difficult and hidden histories. MORE

UM News Q&A

University of Michigan historian Scott Ellsworth, author of two books about the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, says that President Joe Biden’s historic visit this week to Greenwood, the site where hundreds of African Americans were killed by a white mob a century ago, “was deeply moving, extremely significant.”

“I thought about the three known living survivors, but I also thought about other members of the community, and the idea that the President of the United States, the leader of the free world, was coming to visit them to commemorate this tragic event,” Ellsworth said. “I also thought of the survivors that are long gone and how much this would have pleased them very much. They had all suffered, their families had suffered during the massacre, but they were also deeply patriotic citizens. I think that really would have meant the world to them.” MORE

CNN Business

100 years ago, this area was known as Black Wall Street. Then it came to a heartbreaking end. MORE


CBS News

Scott Ellsworth, a lecturer at the University of Michigan's Department of Afroamerican and African Studies and author of "The Ground Breaking: An American City and Its Search for Justice," joins CBSN's Tanya Rivero for a closer look at what's widely considered the worst racially motivated massacre in U.S. history.


Black Wall Street was shattered 100 years ago. How the Tulsa race massacre was covered up and unearthed. MORE

The New York Times

A Skillful Narrative of Excavating the Truth About the Tulsa Race Massacre

Trying to recover a forgotten history is one thing; rescuing a history that has been actively suppressed is another. MORE


Lois Reitzes is joined by author Scott Ellsworth, professor of Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan.  The Ground Breaking: An American City and Its Search for Justice further exposes the truth of the Tulsa massacre and its subsequent coverup and follows the reinvigorated fight for restitution for survivors and their families. LISTEN

The Wall Street Journal

The Dreams of Jack and Daisy Scott

How the Tulsa Race Massacre tragically rippled across one family in segregated Oklahoma


Additional Coverage