Lawsuit could affect riot memorial
BY RANDY KREHBIEL World Staff Writer
Apr 12, 2003
1/20/13 at 8:11 AM
Ross says potential
supporters are angry,
which puts crucial
funding in jeopardy.
A backlash from a federal
lawsuit seeking damages for
Tulsa's 1921 Race Riot is disrupting efforts to build a memorial dedicated to one of
the nation's deadliest outbreaks of civil violence.
The lawsuit angered potential supporters, former state
Rep. Don Ross said during a
Friday meeting of the design
committee for the 1921 Race
Riot Memorial and Museum.
Ross, a committee member,
said the facility's name
should be changed to reflect
an emphasis on reconciliation
instead of violence.
"It's always been our intention to emphasize reconciliation, but we haven't put it in
writing," Ross said.
Preliminary designs of the
facility, projected to cost
about $18 million, feature a
"healing circle" intended as a
place for reflection and meditation.
Ross said the lawsuit, filed
Feb. 28 on behalf of 126 riot
survivors and 251 descendants of individuals who lived
in Tulsa's black Greenwood
district at the time of the
conflagration on May 31-June
1, 1921, has made fund raising for the memorial more
The suit seeks unspecified
damages from the City of
Tulsa, the Tulsa Police Department and the State of
"People are mad," Ross said,
"The people with money are
Private financing is critical to
So far, its only resources are
$1.5 million in state appropriations, with that commitment
shrinking monthly because of
tax revenue shortfalls.
Ross said the public must be
assured "this isn't going to be a
statue of people dead on the
ground with a white man standing over them with a gun.
"That's never what this was
about and we need to make that
To facilitate fund raising, the
committee formally organized a
foundation on Friday whose first
president will be University of
Tulsa law and history professor
Paul Finkelman. State Rep. Darrell Gilbert, D-Tulsa, was elected
secretary and state Sen. Maxine
Horner, D-Tulsa, treasurer.
The remaining foundation
board members are public relations consultant Steve Turnbo;
engineer Julius Pegues; Ross;
Rep. Judy Eason-McIntyre, D-Tulsa; attorney John Gaberino
and advertising and public relations executive Jerry Goodwin.
All are members of the design
Randy Krehbiel 581-8365