Woman, 105, leads lawsuit seeking reparations for 1921 Tulsa massacre

Woman, 105, leads lawsuit seeking reparations for 1921 Tulsa massacre

9/1/2020 The lead plaintiff in the lawsuit is Lessie Benningfield Randle, 105, one of two known survivors of the massacre still alive.

  • Historians estimate as many as 300 black people were killed
  • Suit alleges massacre responsible for inequality in Tulsa today

The lawsuit alleges that the massacre, one of the worst acts of racial violence in US history, still overshadows the neighborhood of Greenwood, and that racial inequality in Tulsa today can be traced back to the events of almost 100 years ago.

by Jonathan A Weiss Esq.

Restorative justice rests on the affirmation of universal human worth, No matter how bad the act, or the character revealed, by a wrongdoer who inflicts harm on others or their shared State Society and possibly culture, we believe that, being human, perpetrator has real worth, potentialities, and values. Some of the worst may need to be restrained or restricted but the limitations on them should be minimal with the most possibilities for rehabilitation, education, and counseling. Rather than viewing the easily understood “anger”, “revenge” and/or “hatred” as creating “closure” for the victims (particularly in the current state of law enforcement by prejudiced and ambitious, if not corrupt, police and prosecutors) with private prisons and chain gangs for labor, the goal should be to respect everyone’s basic humanity. Justice should be better served.

This principle can be generalized. In Mandela’s new South Africa, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission brought the oppressed and oppressor (with brutality) together in public for a national understanding of Apartheid and its evil. It accomplished much more that the Nuremberg Trials (while the United States and South America continued to welcome Nazis, particularly with skills) which continued the war by other means. Some Nazis were executed, some were acquitted, all pointing out atrocities perpetuated by their prosecutor countries. those acquitted, convicted later in German Courts.

Resolving clashing claims, it follows that all are best served, by the most mutual accommodation possible. The more satisfaction each claimant gets, the more Justice will be served. This is on reason for Court encouraged settlement of litigation.

With this background, reparations are raised. As a general proposition for the descendants of slaves from a country primarily comprised of post civil war immigrant descendants, the issue gets quite difficult. The case is strengthened by the broken promise of “40 Acres and a Mule” followed by the land rush for “whites only” under the Homestead act. The gains and great potentialities of Reconstruction were destroyed by the Hays-Tilden compromise with Northern Troops pulling out (suggesting perhaps the War was a waste and that, preventing carnage, the South should have been encouraged to secede with all means employed to bring slaves up North to Freedom. (Was Jim Crow worth “saving the Union”?) Jim Crow, enshrined by the Supreme Court continued much of slavery’s horrors and economic deprivation with continuing economic, health, and infrastructure clear inadequacy currently prevalent in poor neighborhoods, often those primarily populated by people with more melanin in the skin than the ruling elite,

Beside, who should pay whom (including those in Liberia), there are other reasons to reject general reparations. Before there could be reparations for slavery, there would have to be reparations for the genocide and theft of land, the Native Americans suffered in conquest and continued “manifest destiny.” as colonial conquest swept West. The basic current problem is misallocation of resources (in taxation and dispensation of money and grants by government and business) shockingly skewed to the privileged with mass deprivation of necessities in housing, health, safety, transportation, food, infrastructure, etc., referenced above.

Rather one particular set of reparations should be made. There is precedent. Finally, after years of struggle, some Japanese received Federal legislative reparations for being removed, their property stolen, and placed in Concentration Camps in World War II. The same principles apply to Tulsa with the wholesale slaughter and pillage of Green Wood, the Black Wall Street. near Juneteenth and just less than a century before. The location of descendants can be accomplished and money divided as grandparents’ and ancestors’ honor recognized. The assessment of damage (updated to current dollars) can be generated (even without quantifying the monetary worth of lives extinguished viciously, while the neighborhood was charred to the ground.). A charge could be levied on one or combination of all these groups: – the descendants of the murderous mob, the current property owners in that area, Tulsa, Oklahoma, the whole of secessionist Dixie, and the United States who did nothing after that massacre. These reparations make sense and would focus further discussion.

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