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By Erika Stone and Deon Osborne

Today, November 10, is a special day for Lessie Benningfield Randle. “Mother” Randle, one of the three last known living survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, celebrates her 107th birthday on this day.

Mother Randle still has memories of being forced to flee with her family during the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, a 3-day murderous rampage across north Tulsa that ended with the deaths of hundreds of Black men, women, and children. The Black community in north Tulsa was blamed for the massacre, while not a single white attacker faced consequences. 

Meanwhile, the mass grave site where Black bodies were unceremoniously dumped has yet to be completely discovered, and hundreds of bodies still remain unaccounted for. Additionally, the city of Tulsa continues to grapple with the aftermath of the massacre, including how to memorialize the victims and honor the descendants.

biden reparations tulsa
President Joe Biden speaks as he commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa race massacre, at the Greenwood Cultural Center, Tuesday, June 1, 2021, in Tulsa, Okla. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

City seeks to dismiss lawsuit

Importantly, the Justice for Greenwood Foundation, led by civil rights attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons has filed a lawsuit in district court against the city of Tulsa, Tulsa County, and other state entities. The lawsuit seeks an “abatement of the public nuisance” the massacre created and has perpetuated for the last century. Meanwhile, city attorneys are attempting to have the lawsuit dismissed, even after Tulsa City Council apologized for the massacre earlier this summer.

“The silence has been deafening as we await to hear a final decision from Tulsa County Judge Caroline Wall. This is still a critical moment for all of us,” Justice for Greenwood wrote on Facebook on November 2.

During the 100-Year Centennial this summer, “Mother” Lessie Benningfield Randle led the Black Wall St Memorial March, along with the two other living survivors, Viola Ford Fletcher, known as “Mother” Fletcher (107), and Hughes Van Ellis, known as “Uncle Red.” The event took place during the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial, and the trio, in a horse-drawn carriage, led a crowd of hundreds through Greenwood in Tulsa.

To send “Mother” Randle a special message on her birthday, click here.

The Black Wall St Times wishes a blessed and joyous birthday to Mother Randle, the epitome of Black resilience and Black girl magic. 

Erika Stone is a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Oklahoma, and a graduate assistant at Schusterman Library. A Chess Memorial Scholar, she has a B.A. in Psychology...

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