Judge Rules Lawsuit Seeking Reparations for Tulsa Race Massacre Can Move Forward

Three survivors of the massacre have sued the city of Tulsa, the county office of the law, and other defendants over the attack, in which a white mob killed hundreds of Black residents.

The Tulsa race massacre of 1921, also known as the Tulsa race riot of 1921, was one of the most severe incidents of racial violence in U.S. history. It occurred in Tulsa, Oklahoma, beginning on May 31, 1921, lasting for two days, leading to the death of many black people and the destruction of homes and businesses around the greenwood district. The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre reveals much about the long history of endemic white on Black violence in America. Today, many white Americans are unaware of the widespread atrocities committed against Black people in America.  Three survivors of the massacre have sued the city of Tulsa, the county office of the law, and other defendants over the attack, in which a white mob killed hundreds of Black residents. According to Judge Wall’s decision on Monday on the case, the Massacre survivors’ lawyers demand Tulsa be the next city to pay reparations. The plaintiffs’ attorneys pleaded Monday afternoon for the judge to allow the case to move forward so the survivors and descendants of victims from the massacre could have their day in court, potentially their last chance to get some show of justice. In addition, the attorneys for the plaintiffs are racing against the clock where three of their clients are more than 100 years old, including the 101-year-old Ellis and Viola Fletcher and Lessie Benningfield Randle, who are both 107.

According to the CNN news on Monday, Damario Solomon-Simmons, an attorney for the plaintiffs, says he was earlier involved in litigation for the massacre in the early 2000s with Charles J. Ogletree and Johnnie Cochran.  He says that today’s victory followed a long string of defeats. “When you work on something for 20-plus years, you have defeat; you have client after the client dies. Knowing I have three living survivors here with me, I feel this partial victory means everything,” Solomon-Simmons said. ‘It’s shameful.’  According to Judge Wall’s decision on Monday on the case, the Massacre survivors’ lawyers demand Tulsa be the next city to pay reparations. According to the lawyer, this case has taken 100 years, which means America could be held accountable for a previous injustice and lay the groundwork for similar cases. “They’ve waited 300-plus years to have their day in court,” Solomon-Simmons said of the three survivors. Simon says he hopes that justice will prevail, especially for the three survivors.


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