SoA Lecture Series: Dr. Alicia Odewale, University of Tulsa


Mar 21 2022 - 11:00am

Monday, March 21, 2022
11:00 a.m.

Via Zoom

Dr. Alicia Odewale
Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Tulsa
African Diaspora Archaeologist
Live Speaker for National Geographic

Title: Reclaiming Black Wall Street: Healing Layers of Trauma Hiding in Plain Sight

Abstract: Last year, 2021 marked 100 years since the 1921 Attack on Greenwood destroyed what was commonly known as Black Wall Street, one of the most prosperous Black communities in the early twentieth century. In the wake of renewed public interest in this story the nation is fixated on unearthing evidence of trauma and violence done to this historic community. However, a new collaborative archaeology project titled “Mapping Historical Trauma in Tulsa from 1921 to 2021” remains focused on finding signs of life and recovery in the aftermath of the massacre, as the Greenwood community rebuilt their homes, businesses and churches and continue to fight against erasure and gentrification in the present day. Join Dr. Odewale (a native Tulsan, archaeologist, educator, and descendant of a survivor) as she continues to utilize community-centered, restorative justice, anti-racist and Black feminist archaeology methods to examine the aftermath of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. She will present some preliminary results of this collaborative research including the use of restorative justice archaeology and surviving cultural landscapes to bear witness to trauma and erasure that is no longer visible above ground. Using archaeology as a tool for social justice, this field has the power to reclaim and reimagine that which was taken by violence. Blending archaeology, history, radical mapping, and digital humanities provides a way to not only visualize the impact of the massacre through time but share a greater story of Black resilience through time.

Bio: Dr. Odewale is a Tulsa native who graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in 2006 and received her PhD from the University of Tulsa in 2016. She is the great grandniece of Robert Ware, who attended Dunbar Grade School and survived the Tulsa Race Massacre in 1921. She is now an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Tulsa, specializing in African Diaspora archaeology in the Caribbean and Southeastern United States with a theoretical focus on community-centered, restorative justice, anti-racist and Black feminist archaeology. Since 2014, she has been researching archaeological sites related to Afro-Caribbean heritage on St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands but continues to research sites of Black heritage in her home state of Oklahoma. Her latest research project based in Tulsa, Oklahoma works alongside other local Tulsans to reanalyze historical evidence from the aftermath of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, launch new community-based archaeological investigations in the historic Greenwood district, and use radical mapping techniques to visualize the impact of the massacre through time on the landscape of Greenwood.
Her research interests include the archaeology of enslavement and freedom in urban contexts, Caribbean archaeology, rural and urban comparative analyses, community-based archaeology, ceramic analysis, transferware studies, mapping historical trauma from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, restorative justice and auto-archaeology, and investigations into different forms of cultural resistance. She is the co-creator of the #TulsaSyllabus, an online resource guide that dives into the history and archaeology of Black enslavement, landownership, anti-black violence, and the rise of prosperous Black communities in Oklahoma.
Her research has received awards and support from the American Anthropological Association, the National Science Foundation, the Society of Historical Archaeology, the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission, the Tulsa Community Foundation, and the Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery (DAACS). In addition to her role as faculty, she also serves as the director of the Historical Archaeology and Heritage Studies Laboratory at the University of Tulsa and serves as the co-creator of the Estate Little Princess Archaeological Field School in St. Croix that trains local students in archaeological methods and other STEM-related skills for free.


For more information, contact: Dr. Linda Green (
or Charla Dain (

Calendar Type: 

Send to college calendar: 


Mark as important date: