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Historic Tulsa Reparations Lawsuit Is Dismissed

A lawsuit seeking reparations for the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre has been dismissed, disappointing survivors but raising awareness of the historical damage and persistent disparities faced by Black Americans.



By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire
Senior National Correspondent

An Oklahoma judge has dismissed a lawsuit demanding reparations and rebuilding to address the historical damage inflicted by the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.
The case, representing the last three survivors of the violent assault that claimed the lives of approximately 300 Black Americans in the renowned “Black Wall Street” community, ended on Friday, July 7, according to court records.
Judge Caroline Wall, in her ruling, ruled in favor of the defendants, including the state and the city of Tulsa, who had repeatedly moved for the case’s dismissal.
Wall dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice, barring it from being refiled in state court.
However, the plaintiffs – Lessie Benningfield Randle, Viola Fletcher, and Hughes Van Ellis – still have the option to appeal the decision.
Philanthropist Ed Mitzen, who, along with his wife Lisa, donated $1 million to the trio last year, expressed disappointment over the dismissal, describing it as an “incredibly sad development.”
Mitzen conveyed his sympathies to the survivors and their families via email.
One of the central arguments presented by the state and city officials was that the survivors did not personally experience individualized adverse effects resulting from the massacre.
Many said the Tulsa Race Massacre has come to symbolize government-sanctioned racism and violence, contributing to the persistent disparities faced by Black Americans.
While the survivors said dismissing the lawsuit is disappointing, it is unlikely to halt the growing awareness of this crucial chapter in American history, which sheds light on contemporary disparities.

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