Report of Major C. W. Daley

Tulsa, Okla.
July 6, 1921.

From: Major C. W. Daley
To: Lt. Col. L.J.F. Rooney

Subject: Information on activities during Negro Uprising May 31, 1921.

1. Pursuant to communication of June 27, 1921 from the Adjutant General I beg to submit the following report:

On May 31st, 1921 about 8:30 P.M. as near as I can find out the first inkling of trouble between the black and whites was noticeable. At this time I was out of the City, being called to Sapulpa, Oklahoma, 14 miles distant. Upon leaving the City I left a memorandum on the Chief of Police’s desk stating I would be out of the City for a few hours. I left Sapulpa about 11:10 P.M. by auto and arrived at West Tulsa Bridge at 11:45 P.M.

I was stopped by several men on the bridge and informed that hell was breaking loose and that the negroes were trying to take the City. I immediately drove to the Court House and upon arriving there, there was between two and three hundred people gathered in front. I talked to the crowd a few moments and requested them to disperse and go home. I then drove to the Police Station and upon arriving took charge of the situation in the handling of the crowd and other details. At this time which was about 12:05 A.M. several people were gathered in front of the station running with guns of all kinds. It was at this point that I requested all men to stand still and I picked out a half dozen ex-service men to act as my assistants. Separating the crowd placing men with pistols on one side and men with rifles on the other, and gave final instructions that all men under 21 years of age be disarmed as the City would not be responsible for any accidents that might occur in the discharge of firearms in the hands of boys.

At this point I discovered Lt. Col. L.J.F. Rooney in the middle of the block on Second Street with several members of the Guard standing beside a truck belonging to the Service Company National Guard. I immediately reported to Col. Rooney. I was directed by Col. Rooney to continue as I had been and to organize the automobile patrols and keep them organized and report the number available.

At this time I was informed by Col. Rooney and Major Bell, and Capt. McCuen were on duty at the Armory as there had been an attempt to secure the rifles and ammunition. Major Kirkpatrick was on duty in the Chief of Police’s office. Capt. Van Voorhis and Lieut. Wood were on duty with the troops under command of Col. Rooney. Upon receiving these instructions and Col. Rooney notifying me he would remain with the troops I again assumed charge of the crowd gathered at the station. At this point runners were sent out by me to assemble all automobiles at the Police Station as I had been informed they had been running wild over the City without any

head or any one to give instructions.

While this was being done there was a mob of 150 walking up the street in a column of squads. That crowd was assembled on the corner of Second and Main and given instructions by myself that -if they wished to assist in maintaining order they must abide by instructions and follow them to the letter rather than running wild. This they agreed to do. They were split up at this time and placed in groups of from 12 to 20 in charge of an ex-service man, with instructions to preserve order and to watch for snipers from the tops of buildings and to assist in gathering up all negroes bringing same to station and that no one was to fire a shot unless it was to protect life after all other methods had failed.

The patrols were assembled and distributed over the City in automobiles with instructions to pick up all negroes on the streets and to go to servants quarters and gather them in, for I thought some of the bad negroes may set fire to homes of white people causing a lot of destruction to property and a possible loss of life. The instructions to the men in patrol cars were the same as above stated to the walking patrols in regards to the discharge of firearms. In each patrol car was placed an ex-service man and where it was possible an officer from the Police Department for the purpose of having some semblance of po1ice authority, thereby helping to maintain order. With the result that the negroes were gathered in.

About 2:30 A. M. a patrol of cars which numbered over a hundred and patrols of men were very well organized. Upon receiving information that large bodies of negroes were coming from Sand Springs, Muskogee and Mohawk, both by train and automobile. This information was imparted to the auto patrols with instructions to cover the roads which the negroes might come in on. At this point we .received information that a train load was coming from Muskogee so Col. Rooney and myself jumped into a car, assembled a company of Legion men of about 100 from among the patrols who were operating over the city, and placed them in charge of Mr. Kinney a member of the American Legion and directed him to bring men to the depot which was done in a very soldierly and orderly manner. Instructions were given that the men form a line on both sides of the track with instructions to allow no negroes to unload but to hold them in the train by keeping them covered. The train proved to be a freight train and no one was on it but regular train crew. I then informed Mr. Kinney to take his men and use them to the best of advantage in-maintaining order throughout the City. Just prior to going to the M.V. depot Col. Rooney had with Capt. Van

Voorhis and Lieut. Wood and men of the Guard with a truck established a guard line on Boston Avenue and Brady Street for a period of about two blocks. There was a large crowd gathered at this time. There were two small buildings burning and some damage had been done to a few stores on Boston Avenue north of the depot. Fire Department had been called to handle the fires and at this point had been fired on, the firing coming from the interior of the black belt. The Fire Department returned as I understand after many shots had been fired at them making their work very dangerous.

At this point I arrived and found Col. Rooney in command giving instructions and maintaining order among the mob. After investigating around the fire I discovered on the inside of a small shack just adjoining a large brick building that an additional fire had been started which might terminate in a great amount of damage by continued fires. I notified the Chief of the Fire Dept. of this finding and requested one truck be sent there which was done and upon arriving a guard of six men were placed around the firemen and they with fire extinguishers entered the building and put out the fire. · This was about 3:15 A.M. At this time heavy firing started over by the Frisco depot. I immediately went to the depot and found a large crowd gathered on the platform of the Frisco station also on the Frisco tracks where several of the men were firing over into the black belt. At this point I called for volunteer guards to handle this crowd and to prevent further shooting. About twenty men with rifles stepped forward. They were placed in a triangular formation from Boston Avenue to the end of Frisco platform on Cincinnati Avenue, and back across the Frisco tracks with instructions to keep the crowd back and to prevent any further firing over into the negro district.

At this point I made an investigation of the interior of the Depot and around the baggage room to see that there was no danger of fires being started, following which I reported back to the police station and found things running along in good shape.

I have received information from different quarters that the guard rendered a splendid service in the protection of life and property at the time the attack was made by the negroes on the white section on Sunset Hill. On many other occasions the officers and men were exposed to rifle and pistol fire both from the arms of the blacks and stray shooting from portions of the whites.

The local American Legion men and sixty-two from Cleveland, eighteen from Drumright and seven from Broken Arrow rendered invaluable service at all times. Many splendid citizens of the city also volunteered the use of their automobiles and did other patrol and guard work.

In my judgment at least 5,000 people were under arms in this city between the hours of 9 P.M. of May 31st and 9 A.M. June 1st.

On the arrival of the Adjutant General and Col. Markham with the troops from Oklahoma City at 9:10 A.M. June 1st I found Col. Rooney and Major Kirkpatrick at the railroad station to meet the Adjutant General and Col. Markham. When these troops arrived I reported to the Adjutant General and escorted Col. Markham to the police station, Col. Rooney’s Hd. Qrs., and from that time forward was with him until he left the city. My actions can be best covered from this time by a report from Col. Markham as I took direct orders from him immediately upon his arrival.

Respectfully submitted,

Chas. W. Daley
Maj. I.G.D. Okla Nat’l Gd.

Extracted from: Halliburton, R. The Tulsa race war of 1921. San Francisco: R and E Research Associates, 1975.


Report of Paul R. Brown, San. Det. 3d INF, Okla. Natl. Guard

July 1st, 1921.

From: Paul R. Brown, Maj M.C. Commandg. San Det. 3rd Inf.

To: The Adjutant General of Okla.

Subject: Work of the San Det. During Riot in Tulsa.

1. In compliance with letter of the A.G.O. dated June 27th, 1921, the following report is submitted.

2. I was in the Armory in Tulsa when the Riot broke out and upon becoming convinced of the seriousness of the trouble about 9 or 9:30 P.M. ordered two of my Sergeants who were at the Armory to get the men of my detachment together at the Armory. As soon as I saw Maj. Bell shortly after this, I told him what I had done and he agreed with me that it was the proper thing and told me to go ahead.

3. When the troops left the Armory I took a Sgt. and two men and accompanied them, leaving a Sgt. in charge at the Armory with instructions to get in the rest of the men and to hold them there.

4. I was told by Maj. Bell that application had been made to him for help by the Civil Authorities, and knew that shortly after this he was in communication with the Adjutant General in regard to this.

5. The Armory at the start of the riot was in its usual condition, the arms in the Arms Racks and the Ammunition in the Magazine.

6. I do not know personally whether or not any Arms or Ammunition were issued to the Civil Authorities but Capt. McCuen told me that he had been ordered to turn over some Rifles to them.

7. As there was only one slightly wounded man among the troops I started to dress the Negro wounded who had began to come in, at first at the Police Station and later at the Armory to which place I later removed all Negro wounded. As soon as it was possible to obtain Hospital operating facilities at one of the Hospitals, I asked some of the leading Surgeons of the City to take over this end of the work, which they did: Three operating teams were at once organized and went to work on the most seriously wounded whom I had already sent in.

The wounded were given first aid at the Armory, tagged according to the seriousness of their wounds, and removed to the Hospital in this order. In the meantime a number of Physicians who had reported to me had been set to work as dressers as had the members of the San. Det. and some Nurses who had been sent in by the Red Cross.

8. Upon the arrival of the Adjutant General ·I was put in charge of the Medical and Surgical situation in the City with authority to take over whatever Hospital facilities needed . Acting under this authority I took over the old Cinnabar Hospital then in use as a Rooming House and with the help of the Red Cross cleared it of its occupants and furniture and at 5 P.M. had it equipped as a Hospital to which all the seriously wounded Negroes were removed the next morning. At the same time I took over a house in the Negro section and fitted it up as a station for walking wounded. I also took over 6 beds in the Okla. Hospital and 6 in the Tulsa Hospital for Negro Women who were about to be confined.

At 5 P.M. the day following the Riot all cases had been removed from the Armory to Hospitals, and I then took up the question of the sanitation of the Refugee camps at the Ball Park, the Fair Grounds and the Churches leaving them in fair shape when they were turned back to the Civil Authorities at the termination of Martial Law.

9. The men of the San Det. of the 3rd. Inf. reported promptly and worked hard and faithfully as Dressers and as men in Charge of Trucks used as Ambulances and are all entitled to a great deal of credit.


Extracted from: Halliburton, R. The Tulsa race war of 1921. San Francisco: R and E Research Associates, 1975.

Report of James A. Bell. 1st BN, 3d INF, Okla. Natl. Guard.

1st Battalion 3rd Inf. Okla. Natl. Gd.,
Tulsa, Okla.
July 2, 1921

From: Major Jas. A. Bell, Tulsa, Okla.
To: Lt. L.J.F. Rooney, Tulsa, Okla.
Subject: Report on Activities of the Nat!. Gd. On the Night of May 31st and June 1st, 1921.

1. In beginning this report I wish to emphasize the difficulty of remembering time of the different orders ·and action taken. As everything happened so fast and unexpectedly I have a very hazy idea of the time and can only give it approximately.

2. About 9 o’clock P.M. on May 31st. two members of the guard, Sgt. Payne of the Battery and Pvt. Canton of the “B” company, came to my door and reported that a crowd of white men were gathering near the Court House and that threats of lynching a negro were being made, and that it was reported the negroes in “Little Africa” were arming to prevent it. As I had heard rumors of this kind on other occasions that did not amount to anything serious I did not feel greatly worried. However, I instructed these men to return to town and get all the information they could; see what the crowd was doing; whether they were armed or not and report back to me at the Armory. I then went to the Armory and called up the Sheriff and asked if there was any indications of trouble down there. The sheriff reported that there were some threats but did not believe it would amount to anything, that in any event he could protect his prisoner. I then called the Chief of Police and asked him the same questions. The chief reported that things were a little threatening, that it was reported that negroes were driving around town in a threatening mood. I then notified the commanding officers of the three Tulsa units, who were in the Armory getting ready for camp, to hold all men in the Armory, have them get into their uniforms, get all arms and ammunition ready so that if it became necessary and the Governor called us we would be ready. I, also, notified them to quickly but quietly, notify all members of the guard to report at the Armory without giving an alarm. I then returned to my home, just across the alley from the Armory, for my uniform. However, before I could get into it a runner came to my door very much. excited and reported that a mob was trying to break into the Armory. Grabbing my pistol in one hand and my belt in the other I jumped out of the back door and running down the west side of the Armory building I saw several men apparently pulling at the window grating. Commanding these men to get off the lot and seeing this command obeyed I went to the front of the building near the southwest corner where I saw a mob of white men about three or four hundred strong. I asked them what they wanted. One of them replied “Rifles and ammunition”. I explained to them that they could not get anything there. Some one shouted “we don’t know about that, we guess we can”. I told them we only had sufficient arms and ammunition for our own men and that not one piece could go out of there without orders from the Governor, and in the name of the law demanded that they disperse at once. They continued to press forward in a threatening manner when with drawn pistol I again demanded that they disperse and explained that the men in the Armory were armed with rifles loaded with ball ammunition and that they would shoot promptly to prevent any unauthorized person entering there. By maintaining a firm stand backed by Capt. Van Voorhis, Sgt. Leo Irish of the police department, a citizen by the name of Williams and the members of the guard inside this mob was dispersed. I then ordered an adequate guard thrown around the building with one man on the roof. I again called the chief of police and asked if any call had been made for the Governor and he informed me that they were trying to get in touch with him at that time. The chief asked me if I could send some men up town to clear the streets of negroes. I informed him that we could only go out as National Guardsmen with the Governor’ ·s orders and urged haste in getting in touch with the Governor before it was too late. This was, as well as I can remember, about 10 o’clock P.M. In spite of the late hour and demoralized conditions, the officers of the three units, “B” Co., Service Co., and the Sanitary Detachment had been active in getting in men and all supplies in shape. At this hour there was approximately 50 men all told in the Armory and others reporting right along. I had already instructed Capt. McCuen to have his Automatic Rifles ready and manned and plenty of ammunition laid out. (I will state right here, however, that we never sent these Automatics up town at any time because of the danger to non-combatants long distances away if we attempted to use them.) Approximately 110 serviceable rifles and 16000 rounds of rifle ammunition were ready for use at the Armory at this time, all under lock and key and strong guard. The Sanitary Detachment had supplies laid out. So much ·for our action before the Governor’s call.

3. About 10:30 o’clock, I think it was, I had a call from the Adjt. General asking about the situation. I explained that it looked pretty bad. He directed that we continue to use every effort to get the men in so that if a call came we would be ready. I think it was only a few minutes after this, another call from Adjt. General directed that “B” Co., the Sanitary Det. and the Service Co. be mobilized at once and to render any assistance to the civil authorities we could in the maintenance of law and order and the protection of life and property. I think this was about 10:40 o’clock and while talking to the General you appeared and assumed command.

4. When you moved with the first truck load of men to the police station you directed that I remain at the Armory getting the men out as rapidly as they reported and sending them to you. This I did, sending out detachments from time to time as you called for them. Under these instructions, I sent a non-com and four men to the Public Service Co.’s plant on West First Street and a like detachment out to the Water Works plant on the Sand Springs Road. I also sent a squad under Sgt. Hastings of “B” Co., to the Sand Springs substation on Archer between Boston and Cincinnati where the snipers had run the employees out causing the cutting off of the current from several buildings, among them the Brady Hotel. In the discharge of this duty Sgt. Hastings was wounded. As well as I can figure now, we had on duty from the Tulsa units by 6 o’clock approximately 125 men.

5. About 11 o’clock A.M. June 1st the negro wounded, prisoners and refugees began to arrive at the Armory when we turned it into a hospital making preparations to take care of them the best we could. All cots needed as well as blankets were ordered turned over to the Sanitary Detachment. Water and ice to take care of their needs was ordered. The citizens, church societies and Salvation Army brought in coffee and sandwiches for the men on duty and prisoners and refugees.

6. No rifles or ammunition were furnished to civilians at any time except the 2 rifles and 40 rounds of ammunition furnished to Capt. Galoway of the American Legion on request of Commissioner Adkison, and two rifles that had been loaned to the police department several weeks before by Capt. J . W. McCuen on my suggestion: at the request of the chief of police and Major C. W. Daley.

Jas. A. Bell,
Comdg. 1st Bn. 3rd In£. Okla. Nat’l Gd .

Extracted from: Halliburton, R. The Tulsa race war of 1921. San Francisco: R and E Research Associates, 1975.

Martial Law Orders

These have been transcribed (with corrected spelling) from

Barrett, Charles Franklin.  Oklahoma after fifty years: a history of the Sooner state and its people, 1889-1939 … Hopkinsville, Ky.; Oklahoma City, Okla.: The Historical Record Association, 1941.

Hower, Robert N.  1921 Tulsa race riot and the American Red Cross, “Angels of Mercy.” Tulsa, Okla.: Homestead Press, c1993.


The Martial Law Declaration in the collection of McFarlin Library, The University of Tulsa.


Headquarters Oklahoma National Guard
City Hall, Tulsa, Oklahoma, June 1, 1921.

Following telegram from Governor J.B.A. Robertson received at these Headquarters at 11:29 a.m. places Tulsa and Tulsa County under Martial Law:

‘Chas. F. Barrett. The Adjutant General
c-o City Hall, Tulsa Oklahoma. June 1, 1921

I have declared martial law throughout Tulsa County, and am holding you responsible for maintenance of order, safety of lives and protection of property.  You will do all things necessary to attain these objects.

J. B. A. Robertson, Governor.’

THEREFORE, By authority of this order, I hereby declare the City of Tulsa and Tulsa County from and after the hour named in the telegram to be under Martial Law, which will be enforced with all the rigor necessary to accomplish the purpose of restoring peace and order within the boundaries of this City and County.

The people of Tulsa and Tulsa County will retire immediately to their homes and remain there, so far as possible, until this order is modified or revoked.

All persons, except sworn officers of the law, found upon the public streets of Tulsa or in any locality in Tulsa County, will be promptly arrested and punished as a military court may direct.

All business houses in the city will close on or before 6:00 o’clock P.M. today and will not re-open until 8 A.M., June 2nd, and will observe these hours from day to day until further orders, unless granted permission by the commanding officer of the Oklahoma National Guard.

Services of necessity, such as grocery stores, drug stores, dairies, meat markets and other agencies that contribute to the comfort of the people will be excepted from the provision requiring permission to render such service.

It is the hope of the commanding officer that a prompt compliance with this order will result in a speedy restoration of the public peace, and that the order can be so modified that there will be no interference with the ordinary process of business and commercial life in Tulsa or any surrounding city in Tulsa County.

Every good citizen should lend his or best efforts to secure a prompt compliance with this order.

Automobiles, trucks and other conveyances, except those used by doctors, officers of the law, members of the Red Cross and other individuals or organizations contributing to the health and welfare of the people will not be allowed on the streets between the hours of 7:00P.M. and 6:00A.M.

Sufficient military forces are on hand to rigidly enforce this order, and it will be done.

Equal protection under this order is guaranteed to all persons, without regard to race or color. After the publication of this order, the man or woman, white or black, found with arms in their hands without written permission from military authority or by virtue of proper commission under the civil law will be considered as public enemies and treated accordingly.

Police offices and members of the sheriff’s force will report through their chiefs to Brig-Gen. Charles F. Barrett for further orders.

Chas. F. Barrett, Brigadier General,
Commanding Oklahoma National Guard.’

Headquarters Oklahoma National Guard
City Hall, Tulsa, Okla. June 2nd, 1921

Field Order No. 1

Rules and regulations governing the enforcement of the martial law now in effect in Tulsa and Tulsa County will be further modified to enable the civil authorities of the county to begin and pursue such investigation of crimes and offenses alleged to have been committed by parties now under arrest or by those who should be arrested in connection with the riotous and unlawful conduct that has taken place in connection with the present emergency, and for performing such other functions and duties in connection with their offices as the civil law directs except that peace officers will not interfere with military orders in relation to guard duty or other service of the military authorities.

By Command Brig. General Barrett
(signed) Byron Kirkpatrick, Major A.G. Adj.

Field Order No.2

The Rules and Regulations provided in the order declaring martial law in Tulsa and Tulsa County are hereby modified to the extent that all normal business and society activities will be allowed, and guards will be withdrawn from the business area during the day of Thursday, June 2nd.  People will not be allowed to congregate on the streets nor engage in heated controversy or interfere with the right of the public the streets.

All street car service will be resumed on regular schedules.  All theaters, taxi lines and agencies of comfort, health and other businesses will go on as usual.  All white people are restricted and barred from visiting the burnt area of the negro district unless proved with military pass.  All negroes provided with the card showing police protection will be allowed to go into the burnt district or negro quarters on presentation of the card.  All negroes living outside of the city and now detained in the various refugee and detention places will be held under detention and brought before the authorities at city hall for investigation.  The commission named as a military commission and the Red Cross will work in cooperation in the work among the refugees.

By Command Brig. General Barrett
(signed) Byron Kirkpatrick, Major A.G. Adj.

Field Order No. 3

Owing to the present conditions in Tulsa and Tulsa County—funerals of those killed during the riot will not be held in the churches of the city.  Many of these churches are in use as camps for the refugees and it is against the policy of the military department to allow the use for same for funerals under the conditions of emotional stress which still prevailed within the city.

By Command Brig. General Barrett
(signed) Byron Kirkpatrick, Major A.G. Adj.

Field Order No.4

All able-bodied negro men remaining in detention camp at the Fair Grounds and other places in the city of Tulsa will be required to render such service and perform such labor as is required by the military commission and the Red Cross in making the proper sanitary provisions for the care of the refugees.

Able-bodied women, not having the care of children, will also be required to perform such service as may be required in the feeding and care of the refugees.

This order covers any labor necessary in the care of the health or welfare of those people who, by reason of their misfortunes, must be looked after by the different agencies of relief.

By Command Brig. General Barrett
(signed) Byron Kirkpatrick, Major A.G. Adj.

Field Order No. 5

To Commanding Officer, 3rd Infantry.  You will detail a Non-Commissioned Officer and 12 men to act as guard at Fair Ground Detention Camp, this detail will be armed and fully equipped will report to Clark Field at American Red Cross Headquarters.  From and after 1.P.M. this date detention camp at McNulty Camp will abolish and camps will be removed to Detention Camp at Fair Grounds.

By Command Brig. General Barrett
(signed) Byron Kirkpatrick, Major A.G. Adj.

Field Order No. 6

[There is no currently known copy of this order.]

Field Order No. 7

By authority of the Governor and Commander-in-chief of Oklahoma it is hereby ordered that the provisions, rules and regulations contained in the Military Order Putting into effect “Martial Law” in the County of Tulsa Oklahoma be and the same hereby suspended, and the authority and responsibility imposed upon me as Commander of the National Guard, by the governor is, by this order transferred to the mayor and city commissioners of the city of Tulsa and to the sheriff and board of county commissioners of the county of Tulsa, Oklahoma who have taken over all the duties and power conferred upon them by the statutes and constitution of the state. They will exercise with vigor and vigilance the police powers entrusted to them and will take proper care of all wounded, sick and distressed people, who, by reason of the tumult, riot and unlawful conduct of others have become a public charge.

The National Guard unit brought to the city of Tulsa from other section of the state have been relieved from active duty in this field and will repair under the competent orders of their commanding officers to their home stations, subject to orders already in hand to proceed to the Annual Encampment at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

The local units of the Oklahoma National Guards will remain on active duty and be subject to call under orders transmitted to Lieut. Col. L. J. F. Rooney by the Adjutant General of Oklahoma. These Tulsa units of the 3rd Infantry will be relieved from further active duty in connection with the present late disturbance at Tulsa, at 9:00 o’clock A.M., Saturday, June 4, 1921, but will be subject to orders already in hand for the Annual Encampment at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

Battery B, 2nd Field Artillery, Tulsa, Oklahoma, will be held in readiness to obey orders to co-operate with city and county authorities of Tulsa and Tulsa County in case their services are required but will not act as an organization until orders are received to that effect from the Governor and Commander-in-Chief.

By Command Brig. General Barrett
(signed) Byron Kirkpatrick, Major A.G. Adj.


Small Question

ImagesDoes anyone know where these originals of these images are from.  The top is one of two that has handwritten notes on what businesses were on Greenwood before they were burned.  It was taken probably a few days after the events based on the tidiness of the streets, and the electrical lines having been removed.  The relative intact walls and the presence of the burnt out car indicate it’s not very long after though.

The bottom picture is of Mt Zion church before it was burned so probably 1920-early 21.

Wesley W. Shobe

One of the aspects of researching photographs is trying to find out more about what’s in the image.  Not long ago, The Department of Special Collections at McFarlin Library, The University of Tulsa acquired a photograph from Lee Roy Chapman.  This undated photograph:guys001It shows a number of men, in front of an unidentified building.  Written on the back is W. A. Shobe.

The only possibility in the Tulsa Directory is Wesley W. Shobe (Lillian) Billiards, 112 N Greenwood, r. same.

Unfortunately, I can not identify the uniforms or medals, but it does appear to be a fraternal organization.  The building behind is not Mount Zion (either pre or post riot configurations), St. Monica’s or Vernon AME.  The window configuration doesn’t match the ruins of the masonic hall in Greenwood in the post-riot images.



Tulsa Tribune, May 31, a look at the information.

The May 31st edition of the Tulsa Tribune is a major key to the development of the Riot in Tulsa, and therefore it will be helpful to take a look at what we know, and what exists.

The Tulsa Tribune was a daily, evening paper, beginning publication in 1919. It was founded by Richard Lloyd Jones, Sr. and was published by the Jones family until the paper ceased publication in 1992.

The paper was published in two editions, the City edition, which came out in the afternoon, and the State edition, which was published later and was then sent out to the rest of the state, carrying the same content, but the next day’s date.

Up to this point, the only copy available has been a microfilm copy of the vandalized City edition with part of the front page and the editorial page removed.

Front Page with torn out section

Front Page with torn out section

Editorial Page with torn out section.

Editorial Page with torn out section.

The microfilm was produced by the Micro-Photo Service Bureau, Cleveland, Ohio.  The date of filming is unknown, but could have been as early as the middle 1940s.  The filming was later taken up by the Micro Photo Division of Bell & Howell.

If we look at what has been said about this issue of the Tribune, in chronological order, we see the following.

In Mary Parrish’s book interviewing survivors in 1922, Events of the Tulsa Disaster, P. S. Thompson (pp.29-30) reported an article in the Tribune said that:

… threats were being made to lynch a Negro for attempted criminal assault upon a White girl…

Also in Parrish, A. H. (pp. 47-9) stated that

The Daily Tribune, a White newspaper that tries to gain its popularity by referring to the Negro settlement as ‘Little Africa’ came out on the evening of Tuesday, May 31, with an article claiming that a Negro had had some trouble with a White elevator girl in the Drexel building.  It also said the Negro had been arrested and placed in jail and that a mob of Whites were forming in order to lynch the Negro.

Loren Gill, in his 1946 thesis The Tulsa Race Riot, mentions the first page article “Nab Negro for Attacking a Girl in an Elevator,” and cites this as the 1 June 1921 edition.  He quoted the text of the article as being:

A negro delivery boy who gave his name to the police as ‘Diamond Dick’ but who has been identified as Dick Rowland, was arrested on South Greenwood avenue this morning by Officers Carmichael and Pack, charged with attempting to assault the 17 year-old white elevator girl in the Drexel building early yesterday.

He will be tried in municipal court on a state charge.

The girl said she noticed the negro a few minutes before the attempted assault looking up and down the hallway on the third floor of the Drexel building as if to see if there was anyone in sight but thought nothing of it at the time.

A few minutes later he entered the elevator she claimed, and attacked her, scratching her hands and face tearing her clothes. Her screams brought a clerk from Renberg’s store to her assistance and the negro fled. He was captured and identified this morning both by the girl and clerk, police say.

Rowland denied that he tried to harm the girl, but admitted he put his hand on her arm in the elevator when she was alone.

Tenants of the Drexel building said the girl is an orphan who works an elevator operator to pay her way through business college.

Gill’s citing of the date of June 1, means that he could have been looking at the State edition, rather than the City edition.

Scott Ellsworth’s interview with W. D. Williams, dated June 7, 1978, said that there was an article in the newspaper “To Lynch Negro Tonight”.  Ellsworth noted the missing editorial page, and implied that such an article may have been on the editorial page. (Death in a Promised Land, pp. 47-8)

On the face of it, there is almost certainly an article, and possibly an editorial, although neither exists in the microfilmed newspaper.

According to the Final Report of The Race Riot Commission:

“Since Gill’s thesis first appeared, additional copies of this front-page article have surfaced. A copy can be found in the Red Cross papers that are located in the collections of the Tulsa Historical Society. A second copy, apparently from the “State Edition” of the Tulsa Tribune, could once be found in the collections of the Oklahoma Historical Society, but has now evidently disappeared. 90″

Endnote 90 cites the Red Cross Collection, Tulsa Race Riot 1921, Tulsa Historial Society. And says that the OHS copy was uncovered by Bruce Hartnitt, a Tulsa based researcher, sometime before 1996.

I should also mention that according to the Final Report of The Race Riot Commission:  (p. 55) implication has migrated to suggestion:

“This front page article was not, however, the only thing that the Tulsa Tribune seems to have printed about the Drexel Building incident in its May 31, edition. W.D. Williams, who later taught for years at Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa, had a vivid memory that the Tribune ran a story titled “To Lynch Negro Tonight.” 91 In fact, however,what Williams may be recalling is not another news article, but an editorial from the missing editorial page.”

Endnote 91 cites the Williams Interview.

Citing the Final Report, Ellsworth’s Death in a Promised Land, and Alfred L. Brophy, “Tulsa (Oklahoma) Riot of 1921” in Walter C. Rucker & James N. Upton, eds., Encyclopedia of American Race Riots (Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007), the current Wikipedia article (, retrieved 6/18/2014) is explicit:

The Tulsa Tribune, one of two white-owned papers published in Tulsa, broke the story in that afternoon’s edition with the headline: “Nab Negro for Attacking Girl In an Elevator”, describing the alleged incident. According to some witnesses, the same edition of the Tribune included an editorial warning of a potential lynching of Rowland, and entitled “To Lynch Negro Tonight”. The paper was known at the time to have a “sensationalist” style of news writing. All original copies of that issue of the paper have apparently been destroyed, and the relevant page is missing from the microfilm copy, so the exact content of the column (and whether it existed at all) remains in dispute.

In the University of Tulsa, McFarlin Library, Department of Special Collections there exists a photocopy of the front page of the June 1, 1921 State edition, which appears to have come from the Oklahoma Historical Society, shows the article, but not the editorial. I have been in contact with the Oklahoma Historical Society, and their copy has been lost.

Ian Swart, Archivist & Curator of Collections of the Tulsa Historical Society offered a possibility that hadn’t occurred to me.  I contacted Sherri Perkins, Local History and Digital Collections Librarian, of the Tulsa City-County Library to see if there was a copy of anything in the Beryl Ford Collection.  She was able to uncover the newspaper in a very short time.

So, yesterday afternoon, I had in my hands, the actual paper edition of the State edition of the May31/June 1 1921 Tulsa Tribune.  You can see the digital copy of it (all 16 pages) at this link.

State Edition, Banner

State edition, article

State edition, article

You may notice the text of the article does match the article quoted by Gill.

State Edition editorial page

State Edition editorial page

And while they sent out the State edition with the “Nab Negro” article, there is no editorial “To Lynch Negro Tonight.”

As to what was contained in and what happened to the missing portion of the City edition, there are three possibilities to consider: a) that the survivors and witnesses misremembered the article and there never was such a headline (which then raises the question of why the editorial page would be torn out); b) that the damage may have been the result of a storage or handling accident – the June 2nd City edition suffered similar damage, and the two were stored together, or; c) the editorial did exist in the City edition and the editors wrote a completely new editorial specifically for insertion into the State edition.

A Survey of the Tulsa Race Riot Photographs, Part 2

These are the 15 post cards. Please be aware that some of these images are very graphic. The titles are taken from the postcards themselves. The numbering sequence is from The Department of Special Collections and University Archives, McFarlin Library, The University of Tulsa. The images are the set labeled TU1. They are used with permission. Dimensions given are in centimeters, and are of the actual image, not the post card. Other collections mentioned are

  • Ruth Sigler Avery Collection OSU Tulsa.
  • HJ. Hannibal Johnson’s private collection
  • Beryl Ford Collection
  • OHS Oklahoma Historical Society
  • GCC Greenwood Cultural Center
  • Digital Set.

Post Card Backs:
There are two backs found on the post cards, the first is found on the sets at TU, the second is found in Hannibal Johnson’s set. It is my belief that HJ’s is a set printed in the 1940s (based on the finishing) and is a reproduction of one other original sets.


Typical backpostcardback2HJ’s back.


Riot011. Scene during Tulsa Race Riot, June 1st, 1921 A post card showing a group of African Americans and armed Whites in civilian attire standing on a road. There is. A building and two vehicles behind the crowd. One man is refilling the radiator of one of the vehicles. TU 1: 12.8×8.2 TU 2: 12.4×7.75. Noticeably less detailed, brighter. Post card stamp is darker. Crop loses 2mm on the left side, and 4mm off the bottom. Ruth Sigler Avery: Three photographic reproductions, one (c:76) is not of postcard and shows far more detail on the left including another car. (c:74) also not of post card but more cropped. (c:75) is image of postcard, and heavily cropped. Beryl Ford: Two photographic reprints. (A2441) is not of the post card, and shows more detail of the left. May be a copy from the same original image that (Ruth Sigler Avery: c:74) is. (A2530) the lower left corner has been torn away. OHS: Photo reproduction appears file, no source attribution, although probably TU1. A second copy is numbered 16947. Digital set: Card has been folded and the emulsion damaged. Crop cuts off the man filling the radiator. GCC: 3 photographic reproductions of the original image, and one of TU 1.
Riot022. Little Africa on fire. Tulsa Race Riot. June 1st, 1921. A scene from the roof of the Hotel Tulsa on 3rd St. Between Boston Ave and Cincinnati Ave. The first row of buildings is along 2nd St. The smoke cloud on the left (Cincinnati Ave. and the Frisco tracks) is identified in the Tulsa Tribune version of the photo as being where the fire started. The “standpipe” water tank of Standpipe Hill is in the distance along Cincinnati. A rough estimate of the shadows places this photo at about 8 am the morning of the 1st of June. Alvin Krupnick, Photographer? TU 1: 12.8×8.2 TU 2: HJ: 12.9×8. The enlargement, crops off 12mm from left, although there is a little more data on the right side. Digital set: Emulsion is damaged and bubbled. The crop loses the buildings in the near foreground. GCC: Photographic reproduction of TU 1.

Riot033. Scene at Convention Hall. Tulsa Race Riot, June 1st, 1921. A truck is parked in front of the Convention Hall. One man lies on the bed of the truck, either wounded or dead, while two others sit to either side. It is my belief that the man lying on the truck may be Dr. Jackson.  A man in civilian attire stands guard over them. A crowd is gathered around the door to the building. The shadows suggest late morning, possibly around 11. Charles L. Reeder? TU 1: 12.2×8.2. Faded. There is a 2mm wide strip to the left of the gearshift that is present, and 4mm cropped out from the right. There is 6mm more at the top. TU 2: 12.8×7.8. Darker HJ: 13×8 Ruth Sigler Avery: Two photographic reproductions, not of postcard. One is seriously cropped (c:62), other shows moored information on the left. (C:63) Beryl Ford: Two photographic reproductions. (A2517) is cropped along the left side. (A2536) is heavily cropped all around. OHS: Two photo reproductions appear, no source attribution. Digital set: In very good condition. GCC: 4 photographic reproductions of the original image, but not of the post card.

Riot044. All that was left of his home after Tulsa Race Riot, 6-1-1921. An unidentified man standing along amidst the desolation and ruins of what is described as his home. The placement of the ruins of Dunbar Elementary School in the background indicated that this photo was taken either on North Greenwood, or North Frankfurt, facing east. Not ruins of Dunbar, down town, so facing south TU 1: 13×8.2. Faded. Shows soil before the leading edge of the foundation. TU 2: 12.5×7.8. Darker. Cropped to the leading edge of the foundation. Loses part of the trees to the left. HJ: 13×8.2. Faded.cropped to the top of the leading edge of the foundation. Ruth Sigler Avery: Photographic reproduction. Text present but very faint. Cropped in on the sides (c:54) Beryl Ford: (A2509). Photographic reproduction, no text shows, and there is more data on both left and right sides. Likely not the post card. OHS: Digital set: In very good condition. GCC: One original postcard, and 1 photographic reproduction.

Riot055. Little Africa on fire. Tulsa Race Riot, June 1st, 1921 Taken from on top of the Santa Fe Freight office at 1st St. and Elgin Ave., showing the fires on Archer towards Greenwood. The Goodner-Malone company (1 N. Frankfurt Ave.) building is in the center of the photo. TU 1: 12.6×8.1 TU 2: Ruth Sigler Avery: 2 photographic reprints. One heavily cropped, other has a few mm more data than TU1 (1:3, 1:4) Beryl Ford: (A2432, A2525). Two photographic reproductions. 2432 is lastly more cropped on the left. OHS: Digital set: GCC:

Riot066. Negro slain in the Tulsa Race Riot. June-1-1921. A man lying dead in the street, with a sheet or piece of paper covering his face. This victim appears in a number of images taken from different angles at different times. TU 1: 12.8×8.5 TU 2: HJ: 13×7.9. Cropped to remove standing guy’s face. Ruth Sigler Avery: Two photographic reproductions. (C:91) similar to TU1, with notation on original image, “no he’s white. See his [arm]. Covered his face to call him colored.” Notation is in error. (c:92) shows a much clearer image, but slightly cropped along the left. Beryl Ford: (A2465) Photographic reproduction. Too much has been cropped away to tell if is from the post card or not. Note: image is reversed. Digital set: Crop shows more of the standing man’s face.

Riot077. Captured Negroes on way to Convention Hall during Tulsa Race Riot, June 1st, 1921. A group of detainees being marched past the corner of 2nd and Main under armed guard. The building in the background is 202 S. Main, on the southwest corner. Based on the shadows of the building and the people, it is late morning. They are heading east (or are turning to head east) on 2nd, so it is more likely that they are among those being marched south towards the trucks to take them to McNulty Park than to be heading towards the Convention Hall, which is several blocks north of this intersection. This indicates that the title which was taken from the writing on the face of the postcard is incorrect. TU 1: 12.8×8.1. More faded. Cropped higher. Shows all of dentists sign, but cuts off shoes. TU 2: 12.8×7.1. Cropped lower, cuts off part of dentists sign, and shoes. HJ: 12.8×8. Cropped lower, cut off dentists sign, but shows shoes. Ruth Sigler Avery: 2 photographic reprints. One shoes more detail above dentist’s office, caption on back is wrong (c:57), one more cropped (c:58) Beryl Ford: (A2510). Photographic reproduction. Heavily cropped. Some damage to original card is evident. Digital set: Image shows some sign of poor storage, GCC: 5 photographic reproductions

Riot088. National Guard machine gun crew during Tulsa Race Riot, 6-1-21 A squad of National Guard troops on a flatbed truck holding an M1917.30 caliber machine gun.   It should be noted that there is no water hose to the cooling system, supporting the National Guard’s reports that the machine gun they drove around really wouldn’t work for sustained fire.  TU 1: 12.9×8. Brighter, lower contrast. Blurrier, consistent with being a photographic copy. However, 4mm more data exist along the left side. TU 2: 12.5×7.8. Higher contrast, better image. OHS: Photo reproduction appears file, no source attribution, although probably TU1.

Riot099. Truck being used to gather up colored victims during Tulsa Race Riot, 6-1-21 A pair of men have loaded two wicker coffins onto a truck at the Courthouse. TU 1: 12.7×8.5. Brighter, lower contrast. Shows 8mm more image on the left, revealing more building, and part of another vehicle. TU 2: 12.8×7.4. Shows 10mm more data along the right side, revealing a woman standing behind a tree. Ruth Sigler Avery: Two photographic reproductions. One heavily cropped, with notation on front of original image “no they were white, colored were not so decently carried” (c:60). One shows far more detail of the truck on the left. (C:61) OHS: Photo reproduction appears file, no source attribution, although probably TU1. Digital set: Slight staining on the image. GCC: Photographic duplicate.

Riot1010. Ruins of the Tulsa Race Riot 6-1-21 Taken from the Tulsa Pressed Brick Co. The ruins of Dunbar Elementary School and the Masonic Hall (501 N. Greenwood) are in the background. TU 1: 7.8×12.6. Lighter, but clearer. 4mm along the top show more of the train in the background. 4mm cropped from the left side, 3mm along right side more of the bedstead. About 3mm cropped from the bottom. TU 2: 7.9×12.6. Darker. Ruth Sigler Avery: Two photographic reprints. One heavily cropped, other shows more info on the left side. More clear view of train and buildings in the background. (1:7,1:8) Beryl Ford: Two photographic reproductions. (A2430) is cropped all around. (A5237) resembles TU1. OHS: There is a very similar picture in the NYC Illustrated News, June 6, 1921 taken from virtually the same spot, but part of the Masonic Hall is collapsed (attributed to Underwood). However this photo does appear in the Chicago Defender, June 11, 1921, the St Louis Argus, June 10, 1921, NYC Midweek Pictoral June 16 1921, Chicago Whip June 11 1921, NYC Literary Digest, June 18, 1921, Digital set: Crop shows more of Dunbar Elementary School and the train behind it. GCC: Photographic reproduction of TU 1:

Riot1111. Burning of church where ammunition was stored during Tulsa Race Riot 6-1-1921. Mt. Zion Baptist Church is burning in this picture taken about Cameron St. and Elgin Ave. The Church was rumored at the time to have been a storehouse for weapons and ammunition. TU 1: 12.7×7.9. Ruth Sigler Avery: Photographic reprint, slightly more cropping that TU1 (c:21). Caption on back is wrong. Photographic reprint. Shows far more detail on the left, including more buildings. (C:20) Digital set: Staining of the emulsion, but otherwise more clear than usual .

Riot1212. National Guards taking Negroes to ball park for protection. Race Riot at Tulsa June 1st 1921 A large group of people are being escorted by several men in civilian attire with an automobile alongside. They have just crossed the tracks and are passing in front of the Continental Supply Co. (offices at 19 S. Main). There is an issue with this image since while the Continental Supply Co. on the south side of the tracks, the address is on the east side of the street. The structures in the rest of the image are also not consistent with this being that part of Main St. TU 1: 12.8×8.3. Dark. 3mm extra on right. There are several marks on the negative that suggest damage to the emulsion on either the negative or the picture these were copied from. HJ: 13×8. Brighter, lower resolution. 2mm more information on the right show a more detail of an automobile. Ruth Sigler Avery: Photographic reproduction (c:72). Note (c:73) was taken in same location at a slightly different time. Beryl Ford: (A2450, A2538). Two photographic reprints, A2450 is more heavily cropped on the left. OHS: Photo reproduction appears file, no source attribution, although probably TU1. GCC: 2 photographic reproductions of TU 1.

Riot1313. Ruins of the Tulsa Race Riot 6-1-21 Taken from the Tulsa Pressed Brick Co. looking towards downtown. TU 1: 12.6×8.4. TU 2: 12.4×7.2. Darker. Image has been tilted slightly to straighten the image of the burnt pole in the foreground, losing 4mm, and the top has been cropped by the same amount. Ruth Sigler Avery: One photographic reproduction. Heavily cropped. (C:5) Beryl Ford: Two photographic reproductions, both show damage to the original image not apparent on other copies. (A2429) is heavily cropped. (A2542) resembles TU1. OHS: Photo reproduction appears file, no source attribution. Digital set: Crop shows a little more of the foreground. GCC: 3 photographic reproductions.

Riot1414. Charred Negro killed in Tulsa Riot 6-1-1921 The unidentifiable body of a person after being burned, a motorcycle lies nearby. This same body appears in 3 photographs. In the original Schmidt image: 5.3×7.8. Good detail and depth. A small part of the right side, and a large chunk of the left side have been cropped away top and bottom have also been heavily cropped. Average area of the postcards would be about 3.5×6.3 at this scale. Francis Schmidt, photographer. TU 1: 8.3×12.1, although slanted slightly down to the right. Very light and low contrast. 2mm more on right edge. TU 2: 8.2×12.5. Darker and better contrast. HJ: 8×13. An enlargement from the other postcards. Ruth Sigler Avery: Two photographic reproductions of the postcard. Badly cropped. (C:85, c:86) Digital set: Image is good condition.


15. A victim of Tulsa Race Riot 6-1-1921 An unidentified man lying between some tracks and a fence. Another man stands behind him, and shadows indicate several others just outside the image. This same body appears in 4 photographs. Based on correlating information from these images, the body was lying along the north side of the main Frisco tracks, just west of Cincinnati Ave. This image also appears in several crops. Based on the shadows, this image was taken as early as 7 in the morning of the 1st of June. TU 1: 11.3×8.8. Sides and top copped off. TU 2: 12×8. Washed out. Left side cropped out. HJ: 12.2×7.9. Sides cropped slightly. Ruth Sigler Avery: Two photographic reproductions, (c:89) heavily cropped, closely resembles TU1. (C:90) has a much wider view of the feet of the men on the right .

A Survey of the Tulsa Race Riot post cards, Part 1

The firmgun2st question that seems to occur to most people when confronted by the existence of the postcards is “Why would someone do something as creepy as print post cards of this event?” To address that, we need to step back from the issue and look at the artifacts themselves. Because of the length of this discussion, broken into two sections.

This history of photographic post cards is going to be fairly simplistic. The 3 1/4″ by 5 1/2″ postcard was historically a very popular format for making images in the early part of the 20th century. The Kodak 3A folding pocket format camera was the first camera designed to take specifically postcard sized images, so the image could be easily transferred as a contact print, laying the negative on the card, and exposed with a light, then the image developed to be the same size as the negative. Bear with me, this is important.

Just to be clear, this is different from lithographically printed photographic postcards, which are made up of little dots. We are talking about true photographic prints, from a negative.

Kodak developed the 3A camera and the 122 format film in 1903 to take advantage of the popularity of the postcard for sending as mail, and the photographic postcard, with pictures the user had taken quickly became a major hit. So much so that until the 1940s, Kodak, and Anso, the primary competition kept 3A variant cameras in production, and the film was only discontinued only 1971. At 3 1/4″ by 5 1/2″ (8.3 x 13.9 mm) for an image, there were 6 or 10 images on a roll. Postcards done in this fashion are technically known as Real Photo Post Cards (or RPPC)

Why a contact print? Although the techniques for enlargement and reduction of photographs were developed in the early years of photography in the mid-19th century, and even allowed for a form of micro-filming to be done during the Siege of Paris in 1871, these techniques required expensive equipment, and a great deal of time and effort to make. Therefore, until the 1930s, although the technology existed, the majority of images made were done as contact prints, under

Just to add a couple of details. During the period of 1915/16 – 1930, Real Photo Post Cards, as well as normal postcards, were printed with white borders. In normal post cards, this was to save ink, I’m not sure what the rationale was for the real post cards, other than to emulate normal post cards, but this is a way of dating the images.

Another method for dating the images is that the silver gelatin used for these sorts of prints was relatively unstable until the after 1926, leading to the fading, and “sepia” appearance as the print ages. True photographs, printed properly did not generally have this problem.

Another method is the printing on the back of the card, specifically the box for the stamp. In the case of all the postcards that I could examine the backs, the printing indicated they are all “AZO” paper, and the 2 up, 2 down triangles, dates that paper as being made between 1918 – 1930.

Some of the images have different crops, which means that they were not necessarily taken with the correct type of camera meant for making a postcard. And because some of the images show up in other contexts (for example Image No. 2 was likely taken by Alvin Krupnick, and No. 14 was taken by Francis Schmidt), we may speculate that these sets may have been developed by the business that developed the pictures, and retained the negatives. These were then used without the permission of the photographers.

So, why were they being used? Of course we don’t know for certain, but presumably because the post card paper was cheaper that’s why they were generally used. However, because there is a clear “set” of pictures being made, we appear to have an attempt to make souvenir images. Were they ever meant to be mailed? Probably not, but even as souvenirs they are still disturbing to modern eyes.

For this survey, I examined two sets of cards in the collections in the Department of Special Collections, McFarlin Library, The University of Tulsa, and photocopies of a set in the private collection of Hannibal Johnson. The TU sets were acquired in 1989 and 2012. I also examined the photographs in the OSU Tulsa Ruth Sigler Avery Collection. I also examined the online versions of the postcards from the Beryl Ford collection. I used the online versions since what is housed at the Tulsa Historical Society and displayed at the Tulsa City-County Library, are photographic reproductions on 4×5 negatives made by Beryl Ford as opposed to original pieces. Finally I took a look at the images on the Oklahoma Historical Society’s microfilm compilation “The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921: Tulsa, Oklahoma”. I have also examined the collections at the Greenwood Cultural Center. Finally I also have in my possession a digital set made from an incomplete collection that is currently held in an unknown repository. There are 15 post cards in the most complete sets, although some have fewer.