A judge inside Oklahoma has admitted a lawsuit seeking reparations for the survivors and descendants of the 1921 Tulsa To advance race massacre and mark a victory for the plaintiffs and the legal team who have been pushing for justice after the centuries-old attack and its murky shadow.
Judge Caroline Wall on May 2 denied a motion to partially dismiss the case and allowed the case to proceed, although it remains unclear what will happen next and whether there will be a trial.
That The lawsuit was filed last year ahead of the 100th anniversary of the two-day attack on the once-thriving black neighborhood of Greenwood, which saw a white mob backed by law enforcement and city officials killed up to 300 people and left thousands of black residents homeless in one of the bloodiest episodes of racial violence in the 20th century.
It was also one in which no one was ever charged with a crime; Oklahoma High School students didn’t have to learn it until 2019.
The lawsuit aims to correct the records of the fatal events of May 31, 1921 and create a fund for survivors and their descendants.
Three known survivors – Viola Fletcher, Hughes Van Ellis and Lessie Benningfield “Mother” Randle, who were all young children during the attack and are now plaintiffs in the case – testified before Congress last year to discuss the racist legacy of the massacre and to demand justice for the families and communities it left in its wake.
The lawsuit, led by Tulsa-based civil rights attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons, invokes the state’s public harassment statute; The city, state and insurance companies failed to compensate the victims and actively impeded their recovery, the plaintiffs allege.
Defendants include the Tulsa County Board of County Commissioners, the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission, the Tulsa County Sheriff and the Oklahoma Military Department, who have repeatedly tried to dismiss the case.
“I have seen so many survivors die in my more than 20 years of work on this issue. I just don’t want the last three to die without justice,” he said after the court’s decision. “That’s why time is of the essence.”
A commission charged with investigating the 2001 massacre said the mob “set fire to virtually every building in the African-American community, including a dozen churches, five hotels, 31 restaurants, four drug stores, eight doctor’s offices, more than two dozen grocery stores, and… the Black Public Library.”
By the 1960s, Greenwood was beginning to bounce back, with black shops opening on its 35 blocks.
But the long road to recovery would suffer the same systemic effects of racial violence that owned property throughout the 20th.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/tulsa-massacre-lawsuit-oklahoma-reparations-b2071080.html Judge allows reparations claim for 1921 Tulsa race massacre to proceed