Incident Summary:

11/17/1971: Unknown perpetrators set fire to four buildings on the Oklahoma University campus in Norman, Oklahoma, United States. Two other incendiary devices failed to ignite. The Bizel Memorial Library was also vandalized. In total, twenty-seven people were injured and the buildings sustained an estimated $200,000 in damages.



United States

North America

region/u.s. state:



Location Details:
Oklahoma University

Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Facility/Infrastructure Attack
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Educational Institution
Name of Entity Oklahoma University
Specific Description Storage building, Walker Tower, Wilson Center Cafeteria, Building 8, Microbiology building, and the Bizel Memorial Library at Oklahoma University
Nationality of Target United States
Target Type: Police
Name of Entity Oklahoma University Campus Police
Specific Description Campus Police Building, Oklahoma University
Nationality of Target United States
Additional Information
Hostages No
Ransom No
Property Damage Yes
Extent of Property Damage Minor (likely < $1 million)
Value of Property Damage $200,000.00
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Incendiary Gasoline or Alcohol
Sabotage Equipment
Weapon Details
Explosive wick incendiary devices taped to doors of building. Library cards dumped on the floor and soaked with glue and molasses.
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?No
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Additional Information At the time, African American students at Oklahoma University believed that many "racial atrocities" were being committed on campus. The first fire began at a book storage building at 10:30 PM. At 4:30 AM, on November 18, two fires simultaneously ignited at the Wilson Center Cafeteria and Walker Tower. A fire was set at Building 8 on south campus at 5:20 AM. Failed incendiary devices were also discovered at the Microbiology building and Campus Police Building. Five days before the incident, the University Administration Building was firebombed (197111120002). Hours before the incident, there was a shooting at the Black People's Union (197111170002).
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
White supremacists/nationalists No
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators Unknown
Number of Captured Perpetrators Unknown
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 0 Fatalities / 27 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 0
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 0
Total Number of Injured 27
Number of U.S. Injured 27
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
"Arsonists Are Hunted At Okla. U.," Washington Post, November 19, 1971.
"Probe Arson in OU Fires," The Fort Scott Tribune, November 18, 1971.
"OU Damages $200,000, 27 Hurt; Vandals Sought," Lawrence Journal-World, November 19, 1971.