Ruling raises another hurdle for Tulsa Race Massacre victims seeking reparations
Over 100 years ago, one of the deadliest race riots in American history destroyed the prosperous neighborhood of Greenwood, in Tulsa, Okla. With the most recent lawsuit seeking reparations for victims now dismissed, will those victims ever obtain the justice they seek?
Who are they? The Tulsa race massacre killed as many as 300 Black people in the once prosperous Black community of Greenwood, Okla., and left more than 10,000 homeless.
What's the big deal? Just this past week, Oklahoma judge Caroline Wall dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice. This decision comes over one year after she had allowed the case to proceed and ruled against the defendants' motions to dismiss.
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What are they saying? In 2021, the group testified before a House panel to share what they experienced.
Viola Fletcher was just 7 years old when the mobs descended on her hometown:
I still smell smoke and see fire. I still see Black businesses being burned. I still hear airplanes flying overhead. I hear the screams. I have lived through the massacre every day. Our country may forget this history, but I cannot.
I am 107 years old and have never been – seen justice. I pray that one day I will. I have been blessed with a long life and have seen the best and the worst of this country. I think about the terror – horror — inflicted upon Black people in this country every day.
Her younger brother, Hughes Van Ellis, also testified on their unsuccessful attempts to seek justice through the legal system:
We were shown that in the United States, not all men were equal under the law. We were shown that when Black voices called out for justice, no one cared.
Lessie Benningfield Randle, whose grandmother's house was looted and destroyed in the attacks:
I am here today, 106 years old, looking at you all in the eye. We have waited 100 years — no, we have waited too long. And I am tired. We are tired.
So, what now?
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