Oklahoma Judge Rules Lawsuit Seeking Reparations for Tulsa Race Massacre Can Move Forward

The suit in question was filed in September 2020 by attorneys led by Damario Solomon-Simmons. Three massacre survivors appeared at Monday's hearing.

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A judge in Oklahoma has ruled that a lawsuit seeking reparations for the Tulsa Race Massacre may move forward.

Per a report from the Associated Press, Tulsa County District Court Judge Caroline Wall ruled against a motion to dismiss the suit on Monday, with the three remaining survivors of the massacre appearing in the courtroom for the associated hearing.

Addressing Wall’s decision, attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons reiterated the importance of securing justice while the three remaining survivors—Viola Fletcher, 107, Lessie Benningfield Randle, 107, and Hughes Van Ellis, 101—are still alive.

“I’ve seen so many survivors die in my 20-plus years working on this issue,” Solomon-Simmons said, per AP. “I just don’t want to see the last three die without justice.”

An estimated 300 Black residents of Tulsa were killed in the 1921 terrorist attack, which also saw a violent white mob destroying places of business and homes in the Greenwood area of the city known as Black Wall Street

Attorneys led by Solomon-Simmons filed the suit in question in September 2020, noting that the effects of the 1921 attack continued to this day. The suit, as highlighted in reports at the time, was filed under Oklahoma’s public nuisance law. Named in the suit were the City of Tulsa, the Tulsa County Sheriff, the Tulsa Metro Area Planning Commission, and more.

At the time of this writing, it wasn’t clear what would happen next with the suit. Per a separate report from Reuters, the suit “seeks financial and other reparations,” including a 99-year tax holiday for descendants of massacre victims. A regional KJRH-TV report, meanwhile, adds that a portion of the suit is moving forward. Complex has reached out to Solomon-Simmons’ office for additional comment and will update this post accordingly.

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