Judge lets Tulsa Race Massacre reparations lawsuit proceed

Hughes Van Ellis Sr., Lessie Benningfield Randle, Viola Fletcher
Posted at 6:40 PM, May 04, 2022

An Oklahoma judge has ruled that a lawsuit can proceed that seeks reparations for survivors and descendants of victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

Tulsa County District Court Judge Caroline Wall's ruling Monday brought new hope for some measure of justice over the deadly, racist rampage that destroyed what had been the nation's most prosperous Black business district.

Wall decided against a motion to dismiss the lawsuit from the city, the Tulsa Regional Chamber of Commerce, and other local and state entities.

Civil rights attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons filed the lawsuit in 2020 under the state's public nuisance law.

It seeks unspecified punitive damages, and that other steps be taken.

Although Chamber of Commerce attorney John Tucker called the massacre horrible, he said it happened ages ago.

“What happened in 1921 was a really bad deal, and those people did not get a fair shake ... but that was 100 years ago,” Tucker said.

The Tulsa Race Massacre happened on May 31 and Jun 1, 1921, when a mob of white residents attacked Black residents and destroyed homes and businesses in Tulsa's Greenwood District.

Victims were never compensated for their losses by the city and insurance companies.