Judge Dismisses Tulsa Reparations Suit

HeadlineMar 23, 2004

A federal judge has ruled the survivors of 1921 race riot in Tulsa, Oklahoma can not force the state of city government to pay reparations for harm done eight decades ago. Over a span of two days in the spring of 1921 a prosperous African-American section of Tulsa known as Greenwood was destroyed in race riots. Up to 300 people died. 1200 homes were torched and leveled. The federal judge who made the ruling said the incident marked “the worst civil disturbance since the Civil War” but he said statute of limitations barred any reparations lawsuits.

Some legal experts were hoping a positive ruling in the Tulsa case would open the doors to other reparations lawsuits to hold the government responsible for discrimination against African-Americans.

Harvard professor and reparations advocate Charles Ogletree, Jr. said the ruling would be appealed. He said “this is not the final word from us. This 20th century travesty deserves a 21st century solution.”

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