Although victims of the 1921 Black Wall Street massacre in Tulsa, Okla. have been honored and memorialized, no one has ever been held responsible for the carnage and destruction of property in the affluent Black community.

So much for financial payments for the survivors of the Black Wall Street massacre that occurred in Tulsa, Okla. in 1921.

On June 12, an Oklahoma court dismissed a public nuisance lawsuit brought in 2020 by survivors of the racial massacre on the affluent Black neighborhood surrounding the streets Greenwood, Archer and Pine in Tulsa.

The court wrote, “With respect to their public nuisance claim, the Plaintiff’s grievances are legitimate, they do not fall within the scope of our State’s public nuisance statute.”

The survivors of the Black Wall Street massacre brought the public nuisance lawsuit because they believe that the destruction of the area, which was known for being self-contained and self-sufficient, still resonates today.

Only two survivors remain from that dark part of America’s racial history.

Viola Fletcher is 110 years-old.

And Lessie Benningfield Randle is two years younger at 109-years-old.

Last year, survivor Hughes Van Ellis passed away at 102-years-old.

The survivors were young children when an angry White mob destroyed the thriving Black community after an allegation spread that a young Black man named Dick Rowland, 19, had assaulted a young White female named Sarah Page, 17, on an elevator.

At the time, Rowland worked as a shoeshine boy at the Drexel Building, located at 319 S. Main Street in Tulsa and the young lady worked as an elevator operator.

Police interviewed Page.

However, she made no assault allegations against Rowland.

Many believe that Page and Rowland already knew each other before the alleged event.

Before the massacre, Black Wall Street represented the epitome of Black people pulling themselves up from their own bootstraps despite Jim Crow laws and the fact that many were only a few decades away from being enslaved.

The Black area of Tulsa was known for having Black doctor’s offices, Black lawyers, Black barbershops, churches, mortuaries, post offices as well as their own airport.

Many Black residents were more affluent than many of their White counterparts, despite the racism and discrimination that they faced daily.

However, in a matter of days, homes and business were destroyed.

Furthermore, many lives were lost.

Estimates put the death toll at 300 people.

However, at the time reports said that only 39 people lost their life during the massacre.

Additionally, thousands of Black residents were assaulted, arrested and left homeless.

Josh Dulaney of The Oklahoman reported, “Because the massacre was originally deemed a riot, the Oklahoma Supreme Court immunized insurance companies from liability in 1926, meaning none of the Black home or business owners could make claims for property loss.

“The commission recommended reparations, but a federal lawsuit filed in 2003 was dismissed less than a year later because the statute of limitations had expired.

“In their public nuisance claim, the survivors alleged that because of the massacre, they continued to face racially disparate treatment and city-created barriers to basic human needs such as jobs, financial security, education, housing and justice.”

The court added, “And even accepting as true Plaintiffs’ claim that the lingering economic and social consequences of the Massacre still, to some extent, endanger the comfort and repose of the Greenwood and North Tulsa communities, those lingering consequences over one hundred years later, standing alone, do not constitute a public nuisance, as that term has been construed by this Court.”

Nevertheless, historians continue to keep their story in the public discourse.

Rumor has it that Black Wall Street was also attacked militarily by air.

Unfortunately, no one has ever been held responsible for the Black Wall Street massacre.

Regardless, Black generational wealth and upward mobility was completely lost because of the racial massacre.

Although many Black residents from that area had reached upper middle class and upper-class status, their wealth was completely wiped away because of the loss of their property and businesses.

As a result of those losses, the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of property and business owners lost out on generational wealth, which would have been given to them upon the passing of their ancestors.

The lack of wealth between the Black and White communities is one of the reasons for much of the racism in America.

Racism comes from a position of power and power is often obtained because of wealth.

Despite becoming a tourist attraction in recent years, Black Wall Street and the surrounding area has not returned to its former glory even though over one century has passed since the deadly melee.

Despite the impact that the massacre caused to younger generations of Tulsa’s Black community, the court said, “Simply being connected to a historical event does not provide a person with unlimited rights to seek compensation.”

In a statement, the city of Tulsa said, “It respects the court’s decision and affirms the significance of the work the City continues to do in North Tulsa and Greenwood communities.”

With this latest legal blow, this is probably the last effort for the survivors to obtain financial compensation for what their families endured while still alive.

In a previous legal brief, attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons said, “There is no going to the United States Supreme Court. There is no going to the federal court system. This is it.”

However, lawyers did say that they want to file a petition to have the Oklahoma Supreme Court rehear the case.

Despite efforts to sanitize Black history, many entertainers remain determined to keep the story of Black Wall Street relevant.

In 2022, actor Morris Chestnut executive produced a movie about the massacre called “Greenwood Avenue.”

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