Tulsa race riot case heard by 10th Circuit

(June 22, 2004) - (Cheyenne, Wyoming-AP) -- Attorneys are disputing whether victims of a 1921 race riot in Tulsa waited too long to pursue restitution. As many as 300 people were killed in the riot, which destroyed a once-thriving black community in Tulsa. Last year, about 150 survivors and 300 descendants of those who were killed or lost property in the riot filed suit. The case was heard yesterday before the Tenth U-S Circuit Court of Appeals after being thrown out by a federal judge in Tulsa. Plaintiffs argued that the lawsuit could not have been filed until a 2001 report disclosed new information about the riot. Attorney Michael Hausfeld also says courts were not receptive to civil rights lawsuits until after the Jim Crow era ended in the 1960s. Attorneys for Tulsa and Oklahoma say the clock on the two-year statute of limitations began ticking back in 1921 and expired long ago.