Oklahoma Supreme Court Dismisses Lawsuit From Tulsa Race Massacre Survivors

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Oklahoma Supreme Court has dismissed a lawsuit by survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre seeking reparations, Reuters reports.

The move upheld a judge’s decision last year to dismiss the case for reparations for the violence and destruction of Black Wall Street, located in Tulsa’s Greenwood neighborhood, in 1921. Roughly 300 Black people were killed by a white mob that attacked the community.

Lawyers for the survivors Lessie Benningfield Randle, 109, and 110-year-old Viola Fletcher argued that the effects of the massacre, including economic inequalities, racial disparities, and trauma, can still be felt today. They sought for defendants to compensate victims, replace buildings, and return the land to the Black community.

Justice Dustin Rowe said the plaintiffs’ grievances were “legitimate” but didn’t fall into “the scope of our state’s public nuisance statute.”

“The continuing blight alleged within the Greenwood community born out of the massacre implicates generational-societal inequities that can only be resolved by policymakers–not the courts,” Rowe wrote.

Seven other justices joined Rowe in his opinion. Justice James Edmondson dissented.

Lawyers for Randle and Fletcher said they will ask the court to reconsider its decision.

“The court system is the very place where such harms are meant to be remedied.”

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