Tulsa Race Massacre descendants are not letting up on justice for their loved ones and communities. Over 100 years after, white residents of Tulsa decimated the Greenwood neighborhood, known as “Black Wall Street,” and there has been no real effort to repair the harm done.
The city has been fighting accountability for over 100 years.
Bloomberg CityLab editor Brentin Mock noted in a recent article the city of Tulsa seems to be trying to wait out the remaining three survivors who were children when the attack occurred. Mock noted the city has tried to dismiss the current lawsuit three times, most recently last month.
In August, a judge allowed a lawsuit brought on behalf of the three remaining survivors to move forward earlier this summer. Led by Tulsa native attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons, the lawsuit is a historic win for Tulsa Race Massacre survivors who were found to have standing to sue under a public nuisance argument. But descendants of massacre victims were dismissed from the lawsuit.
Even though it is still at a preliminary stage, previous efforts have been dismissed. Solomon-Simmons told Bloomberg the city is trying to run out the clock.
“The city is trying to delay as much as they possibly can in the hopes of our clients dying without getting their day in court,” Solomon-Simmons told Bloomberg. “This is just a stalling tactic.”
The city of Tulsa has continued to challenge the current lawsuit, which is the furthest any legal effort has previously gone. In September, the survivor plaintiffs filed an updated pleading and hope to survive the latest attempt to dismiss the suit.
At the time of the updated filing, Solomon-Simmons remained resolute in getting accountability and justice for Greenwood.
“We have now reached an important milestone in bringing accountability to those responsible for one of the worst acts of domestic terrorism in this country’s history,” Solomon-Simmons said in a statement. “We look forward to the discovery process as the public deserves to know the complete truth of not just the Massacre, but the aftermath of more than 100 years that has brought continued harm to Black Tulsans.”
The group Justice for Greenwood continues to collect stories from descendants and survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Lessie Benningfield “Mother” Randle recently celebrated her 108th birthday. Randle was only seven years old when the massacre occurred.
The push for reparations for the Tulsa Race Massacre occurs in the backdrop of a state swept up in the fearmongering around addressing racial injustice. Last year, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt was kicked off the Tulsa Race Massacre Commission after he signed an anti-CRT bill into law. Stitt also demanded the Tulsa Public School district be audited over an allegation it violated the state’s anti-CRT law.
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