THE WEST LAW & JUSTICE

SURVIVORS OF TULSA RACE MASSACRE DENIED JUSTICE -REPARATIONS

SURVIVORS OF TULSA RACE MASSACRE DENIED JUSTICE -REPARATIONS
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• Heard of Black Wallstreet destruction in 1923?

• Any knowledge of racial terror visited upon thriving and successful Black residents by Whites in Tulsa, Oklahoma?

• The Greenwood district was home of the most affluent African Americans not just in US but the world.

Today, the Oklahoma Supreme Court dismissed the suit, filed in 2020 by a trio of survivors, now two since Hughes Van Ellis died last year at the ripe old age of 102 years.
The dismissal was 8 to 1 stating that the plaintiffs’ grievances did not entitle them to compensation.
“With respect to their public nuisance claim, though Plaintiffs’ grievances are legitimate, they do not fall within the scope of our State’s public nuisance statute,” the court wrote.

What is not known is if there is any recourse left in the federal judicial system since all judicial state options have been exhausted.

The last two survivors of Tulsa’s Race Massacare Ms. Lessie Benningfield Randle, 109 years old and Viola Ford Fletcher, 110 years old, have been spearheading a case for reparations against the city of Tulsa and other they government entities alleged to be complicit during the carnage on behalf of generations of victims’ offsprings.

HOW IT STARTED

“That resentment in Tulsa was so intense,” says Carol Anderson, “it was just waiting for a spark in order to ignite it.” That spark was a sexual assault allegation against a Black teenager named Dick Rowland. It’s not entirely clear what happened in the elevator of the Drexel Building on May 30, 1921, but one common narrative is that Rowland accidentally tripped against its operator, a white 17-year-old named Sarah Page, causing her to scream. A bystander who heard the scream called the police, and “like a game of telephone, the story became more inflammatory with each retelling, and spread rapidly,” writes Dexter Mullins – Enlightener.

Deep Greenwood, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1920. /Public Domain/
The businesses of Black Wall Street in its heyday.
Image source: /America in Color: The 1920s, Smithsonian/
Thriving, affluent Greenwood residents before destruction. Image: /Courtesy/
John Wesley Williams, Loula Cotten Williams and their son, W. D. Williams in 1915. The family owned the Dreamland Theatre and Greenwood’s first car. Image credit: /Tulsa Historical Society & Museum/

Black Wallstreet‘ of Greenwood, Oklahoma was vanquished by White residents with the help of local law enforcement in 1921 in what is now known as the Tulsa Race war.

Greenwood Avenue, for years a thriving hub, was destroyed by racial violence in less than 24 hours. /Tulsa Historical Society and Museum/

In just 24 hours in May 31st and June 1, 1921 what was a burgeoning and a rich enclave of Black excellence disappeared in what was the first reported bombings 💣 by air within the US borders as numerous eyewitnesses described airplanes carrying White assailants who fired rifles and dropped firebombs on buildings, homes, and fleeing families.

Over 300 Black Greenwood residents were killed with over 10,000 left destitute and homeless.

The long term impact of Black residents of Tulsa are tremendous spanning economically, culturally and socially. It is estimated that White rioters destroyed over $27 million of Black property, including homes and businesses, and reduced Black home ownership.

The sky filled with smoke as destruction of Greenwood neighborhood ensues in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 1921
Survivors search for bodies after the Tulsa Race Riot. /Courtesy/

INDEPTH – NEW YORK TIMES GREENWOOD, TULSA DESTRUCTION & HISTORY LINKS:

GREENWOOD, TULSA DESTRUCTION

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/05/24/us/tulsa-race-massacre.html

HISTORY: 9 ENTERPENUERS WHO HELPED BUILD TULSA’SBLACK WALL STREET

https://www.history.com/news/black-wall-street-tulsa-visionaries

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