A lawsuit for damages from Oklahoma and Tulsa may set the tone for a national campaign.
Scott Gold, L. A. Times, Feb. 13
TULSA, Okla. — A dwindling number of race-riot survivors — some more than 100 years old — will finally have a chance to make their case for reparations, eight decades after a white mob tore into a thriving black neighborhood, leaving as many as 300 people dead.
At a federal courthouse here this morning, lawyers representing more than 100 survivors and 300 descendants of victims are scheduled to have their first opportunity to argue that their lawsuit seeking damages from the city and state should proceed to trial. The city and state have asked Senior U.S. District Judge James Ellison to dismiss the suit.
Advocates on both sides see the case as a bellwether in the national campaign to secure reparations for descendants of slaves. Civil rights leaders believe it could shape the reparation movement’s legal strategy and help persuade the public that society bears some responsibility for centuries-old offenses.
Thursday night, in anticipation of today’s hearing, more than 250 people of various races held a vigil. One woman held a hand-painted sign that read, “Tulsa: Two Cities.”
The Rev. Milford Carter, one of the city’s religious leaders, told the crowd that Tulsa had been “stunted” by a legacy of racism.
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