Race riot lawsuit to be subject of bill, hearing

A published report says a 2003 lawsuit filed by survivors of the 1921 Tulsa race riot will be the subject of legislation and a hearing in Congress next week.

Michigan Congressman John Conyers Junior plans to introduce on Monday a bill that would extend the statute of limitations on the lawsuit filed against the city of Tulsa and the state of Oklahoma. Conyers chairs the House Judiciary Committee.

A federal judge dismissed the survivors’ lawsuit in 2004, stating the statute of limitations had expired 80 years earlier. According to the Tulsa World’s Washington bureau, a House subcommittee will hold a hearing Tuesday on the proposed Tulsa-Greenwood Riot and Accountability Act of 2007.

Conyers and subcommittee chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York say the riot is worthy of congressional attention because evidence suggests governmental officials deputized and armed the mob and that the National Guard joined in the destruction. Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor’s couldn’t be reached for comment. A spokesman for Governor Brad Henry declined comment, saying the office hadn’t been notified about the legislation.