Scene at Convention Hall (Tulsa Race Riot June 1st 1921)

Created by
Owned by
Ross, J. Kavin, American
Subject of
Unidentified Man or Men
silver and photographic gelatin on photographic paper, with ink on paper
H x W: 3 7/16 × 5 7/16 in. (8.7 × 13.8 cm)
On May 31 and June 1, 1921, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, mobs of white residents brutally attacked the African American community of Greenwood, colloquially known as "Black Wall Street," in the deadliest racial massacre in U.S. history. This unidentified individual was just one of the many victims. The Oklahoma Bureau of Vital Statistics recorded the official death toll as 36, but it is now believed it may have been as high as 300 dead with many more missing and wounded.
Amidst the violence, both white rioters and the Oklahoma National Guard rounded up black residents of Greenwood and forced them to detention centers. More than 6,000 African Americans were interned at the Convention Hall, the Tulsa County Fairgrounds, and the baseball stadium McNulty Park. Some were held for as long as eight days.
Photo postcards of the Tulsa Race Massacre were widely distributed following the massacre in 1921. Like postcards depicting lynchings, these souvenir cards were powerful declarations of white racial power and control. Decades later, the cards served as evidence for community members working to recover the forgotten history of the riot and secure justice for its victims and their descendants.
A sepia-toned photographic postcard depicting the body of an unidentified victim and a large crowd at the Convention Hall during the Tulsa Race Massacre. In the foreground of the image, a white man stands on the back of a flat-bed truck. On the truck bed, a black man sits next to the prone body of an unidentified victim. In the background a column of African Americans with their hands raised in surrender are corraled into the Convention Hall by several white men. Several onlookers stand in the top left corner near another entrance to the hall. Along the bottom of the image, written into the negative and appearing as white text is [TULSA RACE RIOT JUST 1st 1921 / SCENE AT CONVENTION HALL]. The verso is marked [POST CARD] at the top with spaces for [CORRESPONDENCE] and [ADDRESS] and an AZO stamp box in the top right corner.
Place depicted
Tulsa, Tulsa County, Oklahoma, United States, North and Central America
Media Arts-Photography
gelatin silver prints
photographic postcards
Race relations
Race riots
Tulsa Race Massacre
U.S. History, 1919-1933
Credit Line
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
Object number
Restrictions & Rights
Public domain
2 image(s)