These discussions, which focused on whether the commission should accept money it raised to pay reparations costs, and how much and who would manage it, ended on Wednesday. The commission claims that Ms. Abrams was a former candidate for governor of Georgia and a voting rights activist, withdrew the same day. Mr. Legend followed suit on Thursday. Neither Mr. Legend or Ms. Abrams provided any specific reasons. On Thursday night, the commission made public the decision to cancel.
Many who were involved in these projects for many years knew this was no surprise.
J. Kavin Ross (chairman of the committee that searches for mass graves of massacre victims in the city) said, “This clash was coming.” “It was just a matter of time.”
Kevin Matthews, Black state senator, created the centennial commissioner in 2017. The commission, made up mostly of Black elected officials, philanthropy representatives, educators, and community members, is dedicated to commemorating this event. It has raised $30 million, nearly all of it for a history exhibit center called Greenwood Rising and much of the rest for a cultural center and art projects in Greenwood.
Damario Solomon-Simmons, a lawyer who is representing the survivors in a lawsuit against the city and a range of city and state entities that were involved in the massacre or its aftermath, has argued that a portion of that $30 million, along with revenue from the history center, should be used as direct reparations. According to Solomon-Simmons, the commission is made up of representatives of government authorities that were implicated. They have raised money using the “narratives of the massacre” for a building, but not financial support to the “actual survivors and their descendants.”
The commission, on its part, claimed that a campaign targeting its efforts to remembrance is ill-placed.
Hannibal B. Johnson is a Tulsa lawyer and the education chair of the centennial commission. He said that “The centennial committee was never about raising funds for reparations.” “The government entities should receive reparations since there is evidence of their complicity. They are morally bound to do this.