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The Tulsa Massacre of 1921-and reparations.

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Kowani
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The Tulsa Massacre of 1921-and reparations.

Postby Kowani » Sun Sep 27, 2020 12:21 am

Source

lawsuit filed by a group of Oklahomans is seeking reparations from the city of Tulsa and other local government entities for the ongoing devastation caused by one of the most heinous race massacres in U.S. history nearly 100 years ago.

The plaintiffs include relatives of those affected by the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre as well as a 105-year-old survivor, Lessie Benningfield Randle, who suffers from "emotional and physical distress that continues to this day," according to the complaint filed this week in Tulsa County District Court.

"For a long time, the word 'reparations' was a non-starter, but it is finally losing its taboo," Damario Solomon-Simmons, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said in a recent Los Angeles Times op-ed. "The urgency of the protests across America shows that reforms won't last unless we pay for the crimes of the past."

As many as 300 African American residents were slaughtered when white mobs descended on Tulsa's Greenwood district. Hundreds of homes and businesses were looted and torched, reducing much of the 35-square-block section of the city, commonly referred to as Black Wall Street, to rubble.

A commission that studied the event decades later found the massacre was sparked by an incident in an elevator. It said that a Black man named Dick Rowland probably accidentally stepped on the foot of a white woman, Sarah Page, who screamed. Rowland fled, according to the 2001 report, but was accused of sexual assault and eventually jailed.

White mobs gathered outside the Tulsa County Courthouse demanding Rowland be released to them and there was "lynch talk in the streets of Tulsa," the report said. The bloodshed started soon afterward.

The lawsuit claims "the brutal, inhumane attack" was carried out by white residents as well as members of the Tulsa Police Department, the Tulsa County Sheriff's Department, the National Guard and other leaders of the city and county.

The complaint also says the massacre is an "ongoing nuisance" and alleges that Tulsa officials are "enriching themselves by promoting the site of the Massacre as a tourist attraction," while the residents of the Greenwood district have received no significant benefits from those efforts.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said he would not comment on the pending litigation, according to a statement from his spokesperson.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs argue the effects of the massacre are still felt in the Greenwood district. They say unemployment among Black Tulsans is more than double that of white people in the city and that the median household income for Black residents is $20,000 less than their white counterparts.

While no specific damage amount was sought in the court filing, the suit estimates just the property damage suffered by residents of the Greenwood district is between $50 million and $100 million in today's currency.

This is not the first time that survivors of the massacre or their relatives have pursued redress through the courts. In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal to hear a case that also sought reparations.

Lawyers are now seeking to use the same Oklahoma statute that figured into the decision against Johnson & Johnson in 2019 for its role in the opioid crisis. The plaintiffs argue the massacre was a public nuisance, which is defined as something that affects an entire community or neighborhood simultaneously but "damage inflicted upon individuals may be unequal."

There has been renewed interest the Tulsa Race Massacre in recent months.

A group of Tulsa residents and business leaders tried to get a court to force event organizers to implement coronavirus safety protocols ahead of President Trump's June rally in the city.

The president's rally, his first since the virus caused large parts of the national economy to shutter, was originally slated for June 19. That day, also known as Juneteenth, commemorates the effective end of slavery in the United States.

The event was eventually pushed to the following day. But it came after the Trump administration withered a barrage of criticism from those who said the original date was another example of the president stoking racial pain and anger just weeks after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Memorial Day.

In July, Tulsa officials moved forward with a test excavation at Oaklawn Cemetery to determine if a plot of land on city-owned property contained human remains thought to be from the race massacre 99 years ago.

Scientists, using ground-penetrating radar, previously said they found "anomalies" there that could indicate the existence of an unmarked burial ground.

However, after eight days of searching, the city said "no evidence of human remains are present in the excavation area," according to a statement.

"This initial test excavation was the first of many efforts to find Tulsa Race Massacre victims and this is just the beginning of our work to bring healing and justice to the families," Bynum, the mayor, said. "We remain committed to find out what happened to our fellow Tulsans in 1921."

Officials said several sites of interest around the city could still be potential mass graves stemming from the race massacre.


The lawsuit itself can be found here.


For those who are unaware of what the Tulsa race massacre was, it’s described briefly in the article, but there’s an Excellent video in more detail.


Tl;dr: One of the survivors, and several of the family members of victims of the the 1921 Tulsa Massacre are suing the city of Tulsa for the damages suffered and the city’s continuing profiteering off of it.
Last edited by Kowani on Sun Sep 27, 2020 12:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Willtime
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Postby Willtime » Sun Sep 27, 2020 11:59 am

I do know what happened in Tulsa at that time.
But I didnt know there are some survivors still alive.A century has passed……
Wait and see what happens next.

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Postby Insaanistan » Sun Sep 27, 2020 12:00 pm

/bump

This needs to be addressed.
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Postby Whitemore » Sun Sep 27, 2020 12:01 pm

I wasn't even aware that there were still survivors, that's pretty Impressive.
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Postby West Leas Oros 2 » Sun Sep 27, 2020 12:02 pm

So the city is footing the bill, then?
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Postby Saiwania » Sun Sep 27, 2020 12:15 pm

It isn't the 100th anniversary of this event, although it is close to that point. I view it as an overreaction but that it didn't just occur out of nowhere. Back then there was a White majority which thought that something outrageous happened and a riot blew up into something much bigger when they failed to get their hands on the suspect behind the incident, which was to be the luckiest person in all of this- in that they managed to escape and never get seen again in that city but presumably went on to live their life elsewhere in anonymity. This specific newspaper can be blamed the most for sparking it.

No reparations should be given if there are few to no proven survivors left today from back then. The time when financial compensation was more viable has passed. Although I get that the point of delaying reparations usually is to make it so it never has to be paid out. That is just sometimes what happens.
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Postby Sundiata » Sun Sep 27, 2020 12:28 pm

The Black community in the United States has been treated extremely poorly and still doesn't receive the justice it deserves.
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Postby A z a n i a » Sun Sep 27, 2020 12:29 pm

If this were a thread

Edit: accidentally clicked submit instead of preview.

I'm reminded of something I saw online a very long while back. Say your house is burning. The firefighters come and start dousing your neighbors house (which isn't burning) in water. You try to bring attention to it, but the neighbors ask why you're making such a big deal of it. They ask why you're making it all about your house. After all, don't their houses matter?

This is pretty much what it's like for African-Americans. Despite the overwhealming evidence to the contrary, people simply refuse to see or acknowlegde that they aren't being treated equally, and that their adverse social standing is their own fault. It's kind of the same thing here in SA. After nearly three hundred years of priveledge (that has continued since 1994), we've somehow managed to convince ourselves that we're the victims.

Anyways, I've gone off-topic. I hope these people are finally given the justice and closure they deserve.
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Postby Kowani » Sun Sep 27, 2020 12:29 pm

Saiwania wrote:It isn't the 100th anniversary of this event, although it is close to that point. I view it as an overreaction but that it didn't just occur out of nowhere. Back then there was a White majority which thought that something outrageous happened and a riot blew up into something much bigger when they failed to get their hands on the suspect behind the incident, which was to be the luckiest person in all of this- in that they managed to escape and never get seen again in that city but presumably went on to live their life elsewhere in anonymity. This specific newspaper can be blamed the most for sparking it.

No reparations should be given if there are few to no proven survivors left today from back then. The time when financial compensation was more viable has passed. Although I get that the point of delaying reparations usually is to make it so it never has to be paid out. That is just sometimes what happens.

Except you know…we do have a survivor. They’re a plaintiff in the case.
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Postby US-SSR » Sun Sep 27, 2020 1:33 pm

What is most astonishing to me in all of this is how Tulsa was simply erased from history. I've read of students who grew up in Tulsa learning about it in college and saying, "no, that never happened, what do you mean?" All this BS from Confederate sympathizers about "erasing history," but where are the monuments to Tulsa 1921? To Atlanta 1906? Omaha and Chicago 1919? It seems we don't need a Ministry of Truth in order for these events and many, many others to get dropped down the memory hole.

As for reparations, I hope the plaintiffs prevail.
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Postby Fahran » Sun Sep 27, 2020 1:45 pm

Good. Tulsa deputized the men who stormed into the Greenwood District and orchestrated what amounts to the worst pogrom in American history, as well as the worst single incident of anti-black violence in American history. We have victims of the pogrom who are still alive and it occurred less than a century ago, so we can actually establish, albeit far too inadequately in light of the severe trauma and the long-term economic implications, damages that are owed.

Dick Rowland almost certainly committed no crimes, and the white population of Tulsa conspired to lynch him despite his innocence. Sarah Page never accused him of assaulting her, maintaining only that he'd grabbed her arm, probably accidentally and to stabilize his fall. The Tribune threw kindling on the fire by encouraging the lynch mob and sewing fear in the local black community, who had every right to organize in self-defense and in defense of Rowland.

This was an atrocity, pure and simple, and one of the most shameful in our history as a nation. Many of the people who took up arms to protect their community had lived according to the virtues of the time and made their fortunes while pursuing the American Dream. They had been respectful to their neighbors and to the social conventions of the time despite how nakedly unfair they were. Many of them were veterans of the Great War who had fought for their country as well. They deserved much better than what their country gave them in turn.

I hope she takes them for as much as she can and that the legal system continues to move closer to fulfilling the terms of restitution set by the Tulsa Race Massacre Commission, namely direct payment of reparations to survivors, direct payment of reparations to descendants of the survivors, a scholarship fund available to students affected by the massacre, the establishment of an economic development enterprise zone in the historic area of the Greenwood District, and a memorial for the reburial of the remains of the victims. At this point, I imagine the overall settlement would consist of hundreds of millions of dollars. And I think Tulsa absolutely has a moral obligation and should have a legal obligation to repay it all.
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Postby Greed and Death » Sun Sep 27, 2020 2:20 pm

Unlike with slavery reparations we have a clearly defined damages and a clearly defined group of victims and their descants. The issue we do run into is we do not have a clearly defined perpetrator. The White mob who burned Black Wall street are no longer alive.
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Postby West Leas Oros 2 » Sun Sep 27, 2020 2:26 pm

Greed and Death wrote:Unlike with slavery reparations we have a clearly defined damages and a clearly defined group of victims and their descants. The issue we do run into is we do not have a clearly defined perpetrator. The White mob who burned Black Wall street are no longer alive.

Pretty sure the city is paying the damages, which is about as close as you can get.
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Postby Joohan » Sun Sep 27, 2020 2:31 pm

Were I a resident of Tulsa, I would not want for my tax dollars to be spent in paying for a crime committed by criminals who had died a very long time, and who likely had no connections to me, save for a family tree. Reparations are a very temporary solution, to a long standing problem. What I would be for though is my tax dollars being used to help expand and modernize rehabilitation centers to help those who are trying to help themselves, new infrastructure to help local communities not only make new jobs but keep them, to investigate better ways of improving our education system so as to retain an unsatisfied youth population. Reparations for a crime that happened a century ago are not a solution, but effective use of resources now is.
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Postby Togeria » Sun Sep 27, 2020 2:32 pm

IMO I think the case should continue to get pushed but as others stated while a few victims are still alive the perpetrators aren’t.

Further I think pushing the case as something the city should repay won’t work, I can’t see it passing through.

It’s a really pessimistic view but I don’t have much hope in cases like this only because of factors like time from the incident, and actions taken to cover it up. It makes the possibility of seeing true justice hopeless more or less.

If we can pay back reparations mos def, but another way we can honor the victims is by building and encouraging more involvement in the Black Community, and not involvement with the system that be, but building wealth and knowledge in our communities using the tools and tech we have now to better aid in that.
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Again I think the case should be pushed if not for anything to get a spotlight on the massacre, but personally I don’t have much hope in it.
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Postby Fahran » Sun Sep 27, 2020 2:42 pm

Greed and Death wrote:Unlike with slavery reparations we have a clearly defined damages and a clearly defined group of victims and their descants. The issue we do run into is we do not have a clearly defined perpetrator. The White mob who burned Black Wall street are no longer alive.

Tulsa did deputize most of the participants in the pogrom. That itself might establish the city as culpable and thus responsible for the repayment of damages.
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Postby -SARS- » Sun Sep 27, 2020 2:50 pm

There should be some compensation.

The usual argument against reparations for slavery is none of the slaves are still alive to collect reparations, and none of the owners are alive to pay them. This is different because there is a plaintiff who was actually there, and some other people may still be able to document specifically what (or who) their family lost.
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Postby US-SSR » Sun Sep 27, 2020 3:58 pm

Joohan wrote:Were I a resident of Tulsa, I would not want for my tax dollars to be spent in paying for a crime committed by criminals who had died a very long time, and who likely had no connections to me, save for a family tree. Reparations are a very temporary solution, to a long standing problem. What I would be for though is my tax dollars being used to help expand and modernize rehabilitation centers to help those who are trying to help themselves, new infrastructure to help local communities not only make new jobs but keep them, to investigate better ways of improving our education system so as to retain an unsatisfied youth population. Reparations for a crime that happened a century ago are not a solution, but effective use of resources now is.


They're not suing the rioters/terrorists, they're suing the City of Tulsa to force them to abate the ongoing public nuisance casued by the riots/terrorism as allowed under Oklahoma state law. Direct reparations and increased public spending on programs are not mutually exclusive; they can do both.
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Postby Saiwania » Sun Sep 27, 2020 3:59 pm

-SARS- wrote:The usual argument against reparations for slavery is none of the slaves are still alive to collect reparations, and none of the owners are alive to pay them. This is different because there is a plaintiff who was actually there, and some other people may still be able to document specifically what (or who) their family lost.


There is a plantiff who will die from old age soon relatively speaking, so there is arguably more leverage for Tulsa to disenfranchise them of any funds than to actually pay up. If compensation hasn't been paid out decades sooner, it is perhaps more sensible for the city to ignore or delay this case until nothing can be done. It'd at least save tax money for Tulsa's coffers.

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Postby Aureumterra III » Sun Sep 27, 2020 4:02 pm

I don’t see any reason not to give reparations
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Postby Major-Tom » Sun Sep 27, 2020 4:04 pm

If they have a living plaintiff, they should be entitled to reasonable compensation. Obviously, we can't provide reparations to every African-American living in Tulsa, but in this instance, it makes sense to.

Wild that a survivor is still around.
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Postby Greed and Death » Sun Sep 27, 2020 4:11 pm

Fahran wrote:
Greed and Death wrote:Unlike with slavery reparations we have a clearly defined damages and a clearly defined group of victims and their descants. The issue we do run into is we do not have a clearly defined perpetrator. The White mob who burned Black Wall street are no longer alive.

Tulsa did deputize most of the participants in the pogrom. That itself might establish the city as culpable and thus responsible for the repayment of damages.

There are accounts of rioters including those who were part of the failed lynch mob being deputized we have no evidence this was the official policy of Tulsa PD or officers acting under their own initiative. Nor do we have evidence of how wide spread this was. The fact they prevented the lynching suggest this may have more to do with the police being deployed in the wrong place early in the riots.
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Postby Aureumterra III » Sun Sep 27, 2020 4:23 pm

Major-Tom wrote:If they have a living plaintiff, they should be entitled to reasonable compensation. Obviously, we can't provide reparations to every African-American living in Tulsa, but in this instance, it makes sense to.

Wild that a survivor is still around.

Yep, these are the reparations that actually make sense and are feasible, that’s why I’ve always supported holocaust survivor reparations
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Postby Fahran » Sun Sep 27, 2020 4:52 pm

Greed and Death wrote:There are accounts of rioters including those who were part of the failed lynch mob being deputized we have no evidence this was the official policy of Tulsa PD or officers acting under their own initiative.

I'm not too familiar with Oklahoma state law. I do know that criminal acts by municipal officers in other states can theoretically result in liability for the city or subdivision for which they are employed though in keeping with the principle that employers can potentially assume liability for criminal acts committed by employees while performing their work. The documentation compiled by the Tulsa Race Massacre Commission does seem to corroborrate the allegations that municipal officers participated in and exacerbated the massacre - hence why the label of pogrom is a well-conceived one. In light of all the evidence, past precedents, and recommendations, I don't think the plaintiff's case here is an insubstantial one.
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Postby Greed and Death » Sun Sep 27, 2020 6:50 pm

Fahran wrote:
Greed and Death wrote:There are accounts of rioters including those who were part of the failed lynch mob being deputized we have no evidence this was the official policy of Tulsa PD or officers acting under their own initiative.

I'm not too familiar with Oklahoma state law. I do know that criminal acts by municipal officers in other states can theoretically result in liability for the city or subdivision for which they are employed though in keeping with the principle that employers can potentially assume liability for criminal acts committed by employees while performing their work. The documentation compiled by the Tulsa Race Massacre Commission does seem to corroborrate the allegations that municipal officers participated in and exacerbated the massacre - hence why the label of pogrom is a well-conceived one. In light of all the evidence, past precedents, and recommendations, I don't think the plaintiff's case here is an insubstantial one.


You are talking about section 1983 liability. Generally where there is no policy or training failure the local government will not be at fault. See Monell v. Department of Social Serv., 436 U.S. 658 (1978)

Now there is another theory of liability Respondent superior found in state law but that is employer liability for unintentional actions ( ie accidents) of employees or for intentional actions of employees when they were ordered to do something by the employer ( ie a bar owner ordering his bouncer to beat someone up). Generally an employer is not liable for his employee intentionally causing problems ( ie a bartender deciding to beat up his ex's new bf because they came to the bar).

You would have a case the officers in question if they could be Identified unfortunately they can't be Id-ed and they are likely dead with no ability to claim money from their descendants.
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