Reparations Lawsuit Dismissed: Tulsa Massacre Survivors Denied Justice

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In this 1921 image provided by the Library of Congress, smoke billows over Tulsa, Okla. An Oklahoma judge has thrown out a lawsuit seeking reparations for the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, dashing an effort to obtain some measure of legal justice by survivors of the deadly racist rampage. (Alvin C. Krupnick Co./Library of Congress via AP)
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In a devastating blow in Oklahoma, a judge dismissed the reparations lawsuit filed by the last three known survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Lessie Benningfield Randle, 108, Viola Fletcher, 109, and her brother Hughes Van Ellis, 102, fought tirelessly against the city of Tulsa and other parties for the injustices inflicted upon them when their Greenwood neighborhood was burned to the ground.

FILE – In this May 28, 2021 file photo, Tulsa Race Massacre survivors, from left, Hughes Van Ellis Sr., Lessie Benningfield Randle, and Viola Fletcher, wave and high-five supporters from a horse-drawn carriage before a march in Tulsa, Okla. An Oklahoma judge has dismissed eight plaintiffs and two entities from a lawsuit seeking reparations for survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. The order, signed Tuesday by Tulsa County District Judge Caroline Wall, allows the three known massacre survivors, Lessie Benningfield “Mother” Randle, 106, Viola “Mother” Fletcher, 107, and Hughes Van Ellis, Sr., 101, to continue seeking reparations under the state nuisance laws. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki File)

Historians estimate as many as 300 people perished in the massacre, leaving thousands homeless.

The three survivors sought relief from the ongoing harm caused by this tragic event, as well as restitution for the gains others have obtained through the exploitation of their suffering.

The city succeeded in having the lawsuit dismissed, arguing that mere historical association does not grant unlimited rights to seek compensation. The court ruled that the plaintiff’s petitions should be permanently dismissed, leaving them without recourse.


Click play to listen to the report from AURN White House Correspondent Ebony McMorris. For more news, follow @E_N_McMorris & @aurnonline.

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