Survivors of 1921 race riot petition Supreme Court for reparations

[JURIST] Lawyers for the survivors of the 1921 Tulsa race riot [backgrounder] petitioned the Supreme Court Wednesday to hear their case seeking reparations. The case was thrown out of a federal district on the grounds that the two-year statute of limitations had run on the survivors’ claim. Harvard law professor Charles J. Ogletree [faculty profile], who represents the 101 remaining survivors, argues the statute should start ticking with the 2001 release of an Oklahoma state commission investigation that lead the legislature to apologize for the state's complicity in the riots. Coined the "Black Wall Street", the 30 block area Greenville district in Tulsa was destroyed in the riot that left between 100 and 300 dead and destroyed 1,256 homes. After the commission delivered the report in 2001, Ogletree and a team of lawyers sued the state and the city on behalf of the survivors and descendants. Lawyers for the city and state moved to dismiss the suit, saying the time for filing lawsuits ended in 1923, two years after the riots. In March 2004, US District Court Judge James O. Ellison held the lawsuit should have been brought in the 1960s. An appeals court affirmed Ellison's ruling in September 2004. The Boston Globe has more.



 

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