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May 29, 2008

Reparations Suit

The Anderson at Large blog addresses a case currently working its way through the Federal Courts. More background at link.

Back in the day, the Gap Band had a big hit with “You Dropped a Bomb on Me.” The group is from Tulsa, Okla., where in 1921 white vigilantes looted and burned America’s most prosperous black community. More than 300 people were killed, 1,200 homes and businesses destroyed, and 10,000 citizens displaced.

As my friend Harvard Law Prof. Charles A. Ogletree Jr. likes to tell audiences, the band’s name memorializes the site of the race riot. Gap is short for Greenwood Avenue, and Archer and Pine streets that were the heart of the Greenwood business district known as the “Black Wall Street.”

Ogletree is the lead counsel in a lawsuit to get reparations for the survivors, who include 105-year-old Otis Clark and Dr. John Hope Franklin. Dr. Franklin’s father’s law office was burned down by the white mob.

The time for justice is long overdue. To commemorate the 87th anniversary of one of the worst acts of domestic terrorism in U.S. history, there will be a series of events in Tulsa this weekend.

The events will include the premiere of “Before They Die,” the story of the survivors’ four-year search for justice through the federal court system. Reggie Turner, the film’s director and producer, said:

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