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Saturday, 5 February, 2000, 07:16 GMT
Race riot victims win pay-out

Thought to have been America's worst incident of racial violence It is believed to have been America's worst incident of racial violence


By Jane Hughes in New York

A commission in Oklahoma State has decided that survivors of one of America's deadliest race riots should be paid reparations for what they suffered.

There are only 80 people still alive who are known to have lived through the race riots in Tulsa in 1921.

One of them, 84-year-old Genevieve Jackson, said she never thought she would see the day when she would be offered compensation.


The mobs burned thousands of homes Mobs burned thousands of homes
Violence broke out when a white mob clashed with an African-American crowd trying to prevent the lynching of a black man who had been accused of assault.

Entire sections of the city were set alight, including the area known as the Black Wall Street of America. As many as 300 people were killed.

Investigation

For decades, the events of 1921 barely got a mention in history books, and were played down for fear they would damage Tulsa's reputation.

But in the last few years, historians have uncovered the true extent of the riots and campaigners have worked to win reparations for those involved.

The Tulsa Race Riot Commission was established to investigate their claims - it voted almost unanimously to award compensation to survivors and victims' relatives, and to fund a programme to boost economic development in the mostly black area where the worst damage was done.

Tulsa has spent years trying to come to terms with what happened there, and this decision may help residents draw a line under the events of 1921.

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