Wess & Cathryn Young

Tulsa 1921 Race Massacre

Wessley Hubert “Wess” Young Sr., was a Tulsa Race Massacre survivor, World War II veteran and longtime Tulsa activist.

Wess was four years old in 1921, when he, his mother and older sister were told to run for cover during the devastation. His family lost everything in the Tulsa Race Massacre and lived in a camp at the fairgrounds for months. Since Wess was so young in May and June of 1921, his memory is filled with the stories told to him by his parents and relatives. Wess traveled around the country during his life speaking about the event.

Along with fellow survivors, Wess gave his personal account of the historic race massacre at a briefing before members of the Congressional Black Caucus and other leaders on Capitol hill, May 10, 2005, in Washington.

He was founder and first president of the Brady Heights Neighborhood Association, and served on numerous municipal boards, including ones involving city planning and criminal justice.

Wess was 93 years old, August 21, 2009, when he recorded this oral history interview and was 97 years old when he died September 30, 2014. His wife Cathryn J. Young, who participates in this interview, was 88 when she died December 1, 2013.

Interview with Wess and Cathryn Young

Program Credits:
Wess Young — Interviewee
Cathryn Young — Interviewee
John Erling — Interviewer
Mel Myers — Announcer

Honest Media
Mel Myers — Audio Editor

Müllerhaus Legacy Website Team
Douglas Miller — Art Director
Mark DeMoss — Webmaster
Laura Hyde — Upload Coordinator

Date Created: August 21, 2009

Date Published: August 10, 2019

Notes: Recorded by John Erling in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Digital Audio Sound Recording, Non-Music.

Tags: 1921 Race Riot, 1921 Race Massacre, Red Cross, Booker T. Washington, Ku Klux Klan, KKK, Joan Crawford, Downtown Tulsa, Gloria Swanson, Mayo Hotel, Brady Heights, Reparations, Mass graves, Segregation