Descendants Of Tulsa Race Massacre Victim Sue City For Use Of Likeness

Descendants of a prominent doctor killed in the Tulsa Race Massacre are suing the city, Greenwood Rising Museum and others, claiming their relative's name and likeness are being exploited.

Monday, March 20th 2023, 6:26 pm

By: News On 6


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Descendants of a prominent doctor killed in the Tulsa Race Massacre are suing the city and other groups, claiming their relative's name and likeness are being exploited.

The lawsuit claims several groups exploited the lives and stories of the race massacre victims for financial gain and political advancement.

The March 20 hearing at the Tulsa County Courthouse was to follow up on the 14-page lawsuit that was filed in January.

The judge told both sides he has never had a case like this, so he will need more time to decide.

Dr. Andrew "AC" Jackson was working as a physician and surgeon and living in the Greenwood District when he was shot and killed during the Tulsa Race Massacre.

The 42-year-old was considered the most prominent victim, and his death was well documented, as shown in an announcement from the Journal of the National Medical Association.

Now, Jackson's great-great nephew, Jon Adams, who was appointed special administrator for the family's estate, is suing several groups.

"We take umbrage at the fact that folks who are not related to us are trying to prevent us from protecting the legacy of our great relative,” said Adams.

Adams claims the Greenwood Rising Museum should not have used Jackson's photo on its website and in a TV program in 2020.

He is asking the court to order the City of Tulsa, Tulsa Community Foundation, the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission and Greenwood Rising to stop using Jackson's name, likeness and/or personal history.

Adams is also asking the court to order money to be paid for "acts of exploitation and misappropriation."

Attorneys for Greenwood Rising and its partner, the Hille Foundation, said photos of Jackson were from an old advertisement, so they believe it should be considered a public document.

Those attorneys also asked the court to remove Adams as the special administrator of Jackson's estate, but the court declined to do that in this hearing.

Adams and his attorneys consider this a victory but said their fight continues for massacre survivors and their descendants.

"They've been exploited during the massacre, they never received any reparations,” said Damario Solomon-Simmons, Adams’ attorney. “No one was ever convicted, and now, some of the same entities that created the massacre, perpetuated the massacre, are now profiting off the massacre."

Attorneys for Greenwood Rising declined to comment.

Both sides have until April 10th to submit more documentation to the judge as to why their case should come out on top.

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