Oklahoma Will Not Honor Appeal Of Tulsa Race Massacre Survivors, Refuses To Reach Settlement
After more than 100 years since the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, the three known survivors of one of the most atrocious acts of violence on American soil are still seeking retribution from the state of Oklahoma.
Lessie Benningfield Randle, Viola Fletcher, and Hughes Van Ellis have sued for reparations from the city and state for the brutal attack by a white mob on the thriving Black district historically known as Greenwood. However, Oklahoma has refused to acknowledge the lasting effects of the racially motivated and state-sanctioned mass murder on the Black residents of Tulsa. It’s no surprise that the state, which took part in a lawless massacre of American citizens, has refused to settle,” their attorney, Damario Solomon-Simmons, said.
“The survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre are heroes, and Oklahoma has had 102 years to do right by them. The state’s efforts to gaslight the living survivors, whitewash history, and move the goalposts for everyone seeking justice in Oklahoma puts all of us in danger, and that is why we need the Oklahoma Supreme Court to apply the rule of law.”
According to NBC News, District Court Judge Caroline Wall believes the lawsuit was properly dismissed as the survivors have failed to provide sufficient proof of a need for reparations. The survivors have leaned on Oklahoma’s “public nuisance” law as grounds for the state to take action; however, representatives for the state have vehemently disagreed with their stance.
“All their allegations are premised on conflicting historical facts from over 100 years ago, wherein they have failed to properly allege how the Oklahoma Military Department created (or continues to be responsible for) an ongoing’ public nuisance,’ Assistant Attorney General Kevin McClure said. The survivors have alleged that the state’s National Guard took part in the massacre, a claim the state has denied. Other than acknowledging the massacres as part of Oklahoma’s stained racial history, no other form of atonement has been made to the survivors.
“We have people that suffered the harm that are still living, and we had the perpetrators, the city, the state, the county chamber, they are still here also,” Solomon-Simmons said. “Yes, the bombings have stopped. The shooting has stopped. The burning has stopped. But the buildings that were destroyed, they were never rebuilt.”