On Monday, an Oklahoma judge decided that a lawsuit can move forward. This is a suit that is seeking reparations for the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.
The goal is for the three survivors of the horrific racist rampage to receive justice. Those three people are now more than 100 years old and were present during the ruling in the courtroom.
In 2020, a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, filed by civil rights attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons, was put into place. Tulsa County District Court Judge Caroline Wall has now ruled against the motion.
The three survivors are Lessie Benningfield Randle, 107, Viola Fletcher, 107, and Hughes Van Ellis, 101.
“We want them to see justice in their lifetime. I’ve seen so many survivors die in my 20-plus years working on this issue. I just don’t want to see the last three die without justice. That’s why time is of the essence,” said the attorney.
After the ruling was made, the courtroom erupted with joy and cheers.
Solomon-Simmons has sued, citing Oklahoma’s public nuisance law. He says that the behaviors by the white mob caused the deaths of hundreds of Black residents. It occurred in the Greenwood District where many Black people lost their residences and were left homeless.
The white mob also burned down the most flourishing Black business district in the country that still impacts the city now.
The lawsuit is also asking for reparations for the descendants of the victims of the tragedy. The city and insurance companies never repaid the victims for what they lost.
“In public nuisance cases, it is clear either criminal acts or destruction of personal property, constitute a nuisance,” said a law professor.
Chamber of Commerce lawyer John Tucker has stated that the massacre was awful; however, the nuisance isn’t continuing.
“What happened in1921 was a really bad deal, and those people did not get a fair shake…but that was 100 years ago,” he commented.