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You are here News Human Rights Tulsa race massacre survivors condemn dismissal of reparations case and urge Biden to act

Tulsa race massacre survivors condemn dismissal of reparations case and urge Biden to act

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Tulsa race massacre survivor

Tulsa race massacre survivor Lessie Benningfield Randle, 109, made her first public appearance since the Oklahoma supreme court dismissed her historic lawsuit last month. Randle, along with fellow survivor Viola Fletcher, 110, had sought restitution for the survivors and descendants of the 1921 massacre, in which an estimated 300 Black Tulsans were killed, thousands were displaced, and Greenwood, the thriving district once known as “Black Wall Street”, was decimated in an act of racist violence.

A judgment in Randle and Fletcher’s favor would have been the first ruling to address the longstanding damage the massacre had on Tulsa’s Black community. But the court said that while the plaintiffs’ grievances were legitimate, the suit did not fall within the scope of the state’s public nuisance statute.

Randle and Fletcher’s statement on Tuesday, recited by a litigation associate on their behalf, read: “We are deeply saddened that we may not live long enough to see the state of Oklahoma or the United States of America honestly comfort and right the wrongs of one of the darkest days in American history. At 109 and 110 years old, we are elderly and we know that we are living on borrowed time … Oklahoma and the United States of America have failed its Black citizens. This failure is profound, systemic and marred by lip service and clever platitudes.”

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