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Oklahoma Supreme Court Dismisses Tulsa Massacre Lawsuit

U.S.Oklahoma Supreme Court Dismisses Tulsa Massacre Lawsuit

A historic quest for justice by the last two known survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre ended with a state court ruling on Wednesday.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of their lawsuit, the final legal stop for Lessie Benningfield Randle, 109, and Viola Ford Fletcher, 110.

The women, who were small children at the time, argued that the destruction of what was then known as Black Wall Street and the massacre of up to 300 African Americans by a white mob amounted to an ongoing public nuisance, and they sought reparations.

The ruling concludes the lawsuit that Ms. Randle and Ms. Fletcher filed in 2020. Last year, another survivor of the massacre, Hughes Van Ellis, the younger brother of Ms. Fletcher, died at 102.

The justices ruled that the plaintiffs’ grievances, including any lingering economic and social impact of the massacre, “do not fall within the scope of our state’s public nuisance statute” and do not support a claim for reparations.

“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,” the ruling states.


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