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Tulsa Massacre Survivors and Descendants Continue Struggle for Reparations

Despite facing a significant setback, the survivors and descendants of the 1921 Tulsa Race massacre are persistently pursuing their quest for reparations.

Recently, the group submitted an appeal to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, urging a reevaluation of their case. In the preceding month, an Oklahoma judge dismissed a lawsuit filed on behalf of the last three survivors of the massacre.

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The lawsuit sought reparations for the crimes committed against them and the enduring harm suffered by their descendants.

The Tulsa County District Court Judge, Caroline Wall, ruled against the survivors’ claims for reparations, accepting the defense’s argument that individualized injury couldn’t be sufficiently proven.

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This verdict contradicted some known aspects of the case, including evidence that the family home of survivor Lessie E. Benningfield Randle was looted and destroyed during the massacre.

The Tulsa Race Massacre, which unfolded during the summer of 1921, involved white rioters, assisted by city and state authorities, pillaging and burning the prosperous Black community in the Greenwood District of Tulsa.

Credits: DepositPhotos

This district, recognized as “Black Wall Street,” was completely razed. The tragic event resulted in an estimated 800 injuries and 300 deaths.

The story of the Tulsa Massacre largely vanished from history, but for the survivors and their families, the devastating aftermath of the riots continues to cast a long shadow.

“We stand on the shoulders of so many,” affirmed Damario Solomon-Simmons, civil rights attorney and founder of the Justice for Greenwood Foundation, in a statement to NBC News. “The thousands that suffered the massacre and the hundreds that have been fighting for justice since that time.”

While the victims of the Tulsa Massacre did receive some relief when philanthropist Ed Mitzen donated $1 million to the survivors last year, many argue that true reparations should originate from the city of Tulsa itself, given its role in allowing the massacre to unfold.

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