Ghana Welcomes Two Survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Massacre


Viola “Mother” Fletcher and Hughes “Uncle Red” Van Ellis, survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and their grandchildren, embarked on a trip to the West African country of Ghana over the weekend.

The trip is part of a government campaign to give African descendants an opportunity to come “back home,” France News 24 reports.

Fletcher, 107, and Van Ellis, 100, were received in Accra by government officials.

The family was overjoyed to take the journey. Fletcher has always wanted to go to Africa.

“My grandparents are extremely excited to be home for the first time on the motherland,” said Fletcher’s grandson, Ike Howard. “If you haven’t visited Africa, this is the time to come. We’re in the middle of a pandemic but tomorrow is never promised to anyone.”

The family will also have opportunities to meet President Nana Akufo-Addo, visit several historic sites. They will also take part in a traditional naming ceremony where Fletcher will be honored as a Queen Mother and Van Ellis as a Chief.

The publication reports that the voyage was co-sponsored by Our Black Truth, a social media platform where African descendants can learn about their history.

Back home in the U.S., survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre and the descendants of victims are calling on the U.S. Justice Department to help in the city’s search for mass graves.

Tulsa recently commemorated the 100th anniversary of the massacre — when a horde of white people set the all-Black neighborhood of Greenwood ablaze on May 31, 1921.

The angry mob set fire to 35 square blocks of Black real estate. More than 10,000 Black people were displaced. According to The Washington Post, many survivors reported seeing bodies of Black people thrown into mass graves, into the Arkansas River or piled onto trucks or trains.

Many of their bodies, never found.

No white people were ever charged with the crimes committed against the people of Greenwood.

Now, the Justice for Greenwood foundation had formally requested that the Justice Department open an investigation under the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act to determine what happened.

Damario Solomon-Simmons, the lead attorney in a lawsuit filed in 2020 by massacre survivors and descendants demanding that the city “repair the damage” caused by the attack.

“There are innumerable reasons why the Department of Justice should intervene in this case,” attorneys wrote in the request letter. “First, the City perpetrated the massacre and then led the cover up of the massacre for 75 years. Over the last 20 years and currently, the City’s official position is they are not responsible for the horrendous loss of life, land, or livelihood that they caused.”

“The Department has received the request filed by descendants of the Tulsa race massacre and we are reviewing it,” a Justice Department spokeswoman said.

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