Tamela Mann - Overcomer

Judge Rules Lawsuit Demanding Reparations for Survivors of Tulsa Race Massacre Can Proceed

Hughes Van Ellis, 101, foreground left, and Lessie Benningfield Randle, 107, right, survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, outside a courtroom on Monday at the Tulsa County Courthouse, in Tulsa, Okla. (Stephen Pingry/AP)

A judge ruled Monday that a lawsuit demanding reparations for survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and their descendants can move forward. The ruling comes more than 100 years after the massacre killed as many as 300 Black people, injured 800 and left more than 10,000 without homes in one of the worst incidents of racist terror violence in U.S. history.

In a standing-only courtroom, Tulsa County District Judge Caroline Wall ruled, in part, against a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, which calls for the city to redress the ongoing harm and damage caused by the massacre in the all-Black Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa.

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“This is absolutely amazing,” said civil rights attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons, the lead attorney in the lawsuit. “We all stood on the shoulders of ancestors who started fighting for Greenwood” in 1921.

“I am quivering with emotion,” Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.) told a crowd standing in the courthouse after the hearing. “I am not a descendant of these souls who are buried in the soil in Greenwood, many unidentified to this day. But I take that to Washington. Sitting here, listening to the eloquence of the arguments, methodically block by block — I want the nation to hear this decision.”

Oklahoma state Rep. Regina Goodwin (D), whose district includes Greenwood, said: “The case remains alive and the survivors get a chance to fight another day for justice. Not only are the survivors fighting, but descendants are fighting. Each new generation will fight with the same fervor as our ancestors until long-overdue justice is won.”

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SOURCE: The Washington Post, DeNeen L. Brown

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