Tulsa Race Massacre Survivors Law Suit
Tulsa Race Massacre Survivors Law Suit for Reparations to Move Forward
In 1921 the vibrant and wealthy community of Greenwood aka Black Wall Street was destroyed in one of the most violent Massacres on American soil. Over 100 years later the last three living Survivors Mother Fletcher, Mother Randle, and Uncle Red continue the fight for reparations for the violence and loss experienced in 1921.
Here’s a snippet from The Pulse of NH written by Kendal Ross and Steve Osunsami
A judge in Oklahoma ruled Monday that a Tulsa Race Massacre reparations lawsuit may proceed. The decision by Tulsa County Judge Caroline Wall was welcome news to 107-year-old Viola Ford Fletcher and two other survivors of the 1921 massacre.
Fletcher is the oldest living survivor of the destruction that ensued when white mobs attacked the prominent Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Incensed crowds flooded the streets of what is often referred to as Black Wall Street, killing the prosperous neighborhood’s Black residents and demolishing their homes over two days.
Fletcher said she and her family never returned to Tulsa after they fled the night of May 31, 1921. Her home had been ravaged by fire, leaving her and hundreds of others without any of their possessions and livelihoods.
“There wasn't anything to come back to,” she told ABC News.
Over 100 years later do you think the survivors and their families should receive payment for their losses? While there is no way to repay the lives lost and the emotional trauma experienced by the Greenwood community and their descendants; in our opinion payment should be made. In the Massacre with invaluable lives lost Greenwood lost homes, businesses, and other valuables lost to the flames and looters. Black Wall Street the Board Game highlights some of the historical businesses of Greenwood but the Massacre and the current fight cannot be forgotten.
Here’s another snippet from The Pulse of NH written by Kendal Ross and Steve Osunsami
She and her co-plaintiffs, Lessie Benningfield Randle, also 107, and Hughes Van Ellis, 101, were all young children at the time. Fletcher will celebrate her 108th birthday on May 10.
The plaintiffs are suing for a victims’ compensation fund, pushing for “whatever it takes to replace our loss," according to Fletcher.
Judge Wall partially denied Tulsa's motion to dismiss the public nuisance civil court lawsuit on Monday. Oklahoma's public nuisance statute allows authorities to be sued for what attorneys say is their role in endangering the safety of Greenwood's residents and their property. The plaintiffs must show that the "comfort, repose, health, or safety" of Greenwood's residents was harmed and that Tulsa officials failed to perform their duties to protect Greenwood and its residents from that harm.
However, some officials are hesitant to pay monetary reparations to the victims and their families seeking restitution.
"I am not opposed to cash payments to descendants and the victims. It's where the money comes from that for me is important," Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum, who led the effort to help find missing Tulsa victims, said to ABC News, before adding that he is ”opposed to levying a tax on this generation of Tulsans who are at no fault.”
The Mayor's office declined to comment on the judge's ruling as the lawsuit is under litigation.
This is an ongoing process but a huge step forward for the fight to address the loss experienced and repay the survivors however possible. Play Black Wall Street has an active partnership with the survivors also known as The Big 3. To support the family purchase a Big 3 T-Shirt and 35% of the profits will go towards the family.
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