Race Riot Reparations: Checks in the mail after 80 years
BY RANDY KREHBIEL World Staff Writer
Apr 9, 2002
1/20/13 at 8:15 AM
Compensation of $28,000 paid to 131 survivors of 1921 conflict
More than 80 years later than promised, checks to 131 Tulsa Race Riot survivors really were in
the mail last week.
The Tulsa Metropolitan Ministry's Reparations Gift Fund disbursed about $28,000 to the
elderly men and women, almost all of whom were children when a bloody 14-hour conflict on May
31 and June 1, 1921, left thousands in Tulsa's black Green
wood neighborhood homeless. At least 38 people were killed, most of them black.
At the time, Tulsa civic leaders promised victims compensation for their losses. Although
some emergency aid was provided, full restitution was never accomplished.
Steve Cranford, executive director of Tulsa Metropolitan Ministry, acknowledged the roughly
survivor received does not make up for what happened eight decades ago.
"We are calling this a gift from the religious community that acknowledges the need for
reparations," Cranford said. "I think it's important to note that just since we started this
process, four survivors have died."
A press conference Wednesday morning will reveal further details of the disbursement.
Cranford said the TMM fund plans to continue distributing money to survivors as contributions comes in. The fund is one of two
set up in recent months to compensate riot survivors.
The second, established through the Tulsa Community Foundation, has raised more than
$250,000, primarily from corporate donors. Its goal is $1.5 million, with about half that for
survivor compensation. The rest would go toward a variety of other initiatives recommended by
the Tulsa Race Riot Commission's 2001 final report.
"We can talk for a long time about memorials and enterprise zones and things like that,"
Cranford said, "but the survivors are not going to be around for a long time."
Contemporary estimates put losses in the Greenwood neighborhood at between $2.5 million and
$4 million. According to the Red Cross, more than 1,100 residences were destroyed and another
300 looted. Although much of the property was actually owned by whites, it was occupied almost
entirely by blacks, many of whom were left homeless and destitute.
Randy Krehbiel, World staff writer, can be reached at 581-8365 or via e-mail at