Connecticut Law Review Symposium to Examine Tulsa Race Massacre

In 1921, the Tulsa Race Massacre destroyed the prosperous Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma. White mobs killed or injured hundreds of Black residents.

The aftermath of the Tulsa Race Massacre, which destroyed the Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma, on May 31 and June 1, 1921. White mobs killed and injured hundreds of Black residents.

The Connecticut Law Review will host a virtual symposium to mark the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre and highlight the tragedy’s impact on the law today. 

The symposium, titled “The Tulsa Race Massacre: What’s the Law Got To Do With It?” will be held on Oct. 22, 2021. It will feature three panels of expert speakers and a keynote address from Lolita Buckner Inniss, dean of the Colorado School of Law.

Abby Booth JD ’22 and Joan Bosma JD ’22, the Connecticut Law Review’s symposium editors, said the panels will discuss not only the massacre itself but also the similarities between the erasure of the event from history and the current silencing of the Black narrative in the law.

“I didn’t learn anything about the Tulsa Race Massacre in school at any level,” Bosma said. “The police, years of segregation and white ignorance that led to the massacre are issues that persist to this day and need to be talked about.”

The first panel will be moderated by Cecil Thomas ’06 and will feature Scott Ellsworth, a professor of Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan; Kara W. Swanson, a professor at Northeastern University School of Law; and Sara Bronin, a professor at Cornell Law School. The speakers will discuss what allowed the massacre to be forgotten by history and how the law views history.

The second panel will be moderated by UConn Law Professor Kiel Brennan-Marquez and will feature Nicholas Johnson, a professor at Fordham University School of Law; Robert Cottrol, a professor at the George Washington University Law School; Norrinda Hayat, a professor at Rutgers School of Law; and John McMahon, a professor of political science at the State University of New York, Plattsburgh. They will explore the role of government in establishing and perpetuating racial inequality.

After the keynote address, the third and final panel will examine how law schools can develop lawyers who think critically about race and the law. The panel will be moderated by UConn Law Professor Nadiyah Humber and will feature Alena Allen, a professor at the University of Arkansas School of Law; Cheryl Harris, a professor at UCLA School of Law; Kendall Thomas, a professor at Columbia Law School; and Sonia Gibson Rankin, a professor at the University of  New Mexico School of Law.

“I am proud of the panelists and keynote speaker we have scheduled,” Booth said. “I think this event is going to help people realize that there are concrete steps we all need to be taking to fight inequality and injustice.”

The online event is free and open to the public with advance registration at