The three remaining survivors of the 1921 Tulsa, Oklahoma Race Massacre received $100,000 each from the Justice for Greenwood Foundation on Thursday, June 3. Viola Fletcher, 107, Lessie Benningfield Randle, 106, and Hughes Van Ellis,100, received the money which comes 100-years after the epic tragedy that destroyed their homes and changed their lives.
Commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre which took place over an 18-hour span were observed across the country. On May 31, 1921, a White mob attacked Black residents in the predominantly Black Greenwood neighborhood, burning their homes and businesses and killing Blacks with abandon in the affluent community.
The event remains the worst incident of racial violence in U.S. history. Hundreds of African Americans were killed and thousands were left homeless. At the time, Greenwood was the wealthiest Black community in the United States. The White mob’s supposed reason for the attack was because a 17-year-old White female accused a 19-year-old Black male of assaulting her.
The Justice for Greenwood Foundation, a local nonprofit that has been fighting for reparations for the three living survivors, provided each of them with a six-figure gift.
“We are immensely proud to play our role in rectifying these injustices. Nothing can undo the immense pain inflicted upon the remaining survivors of the massacre, but alleviating their current financial burdens inflicted not only by the massacre itself but subsequent systemic racism is the least we could do for them as we continue to push for reparations,” stated Damario Solomon Simmons, executive director of the Justice For Greenwood Foundation and the attorney representing the three survivors in a lawsuit seeking reparations in a statement to Tulsa World newspaper.
Fletcher, Randle and Van Ellis were also part of the ceremonies that went on this week. Fletcher, who was seven years old when the crimes occurred, testified before members of a House Judiciary subcommittee in May about how the massacre impacted her family and changed her life.
“I still see Black men being shot, Black bodies lying in the street, I still smell smoke and see fire. I still see Black businesses being burned. I still hear airplanes flying overhead. I hear the screams. I have lived through the massacre every day,” stated Fletcher.
Dreamland: The Burning of Black Wall Street, a documentary on the race crime, is currently streaming on CNN. The documentary is produced by LeBron James’ Spring Hill Productions.
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