Three survivors who survived the Tulsa race massacre House Judiciary Committee Wednesday.
Viola Fletcher, Hughes van Ellis, and Lessy Benningfield Randall told lawmakers about the impact of the slaughter on their lives.
In 1921, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a black community where white mobs thrived was burned down.
Viola Fletcher was seven years old when a white mob destroyed her hometown in Tulsa, Oklahoma 100 years ago.
Fletcher, 107, one of the few survivors of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre, House Judiciary Committee, She appealed for justice, sharing her first-hand experience of a bitter attack on what was on “Black Wall Street.”
“I’m asking for justice here and admitting what happened to my country,” Fletcher said in a hearing at “Continuing Injustice: The 100th Anniversary of the Tulsa and Greenwood Racial Massacre.” ..
Prior to May 31, 1921, Tulsa’s district, Greenwood, was a prosperous district that “represented everything possible for black Americans,” Fletcher said.
“Greenwood was an incredibly lively and energetic place,” said historian and book author Scott Ellsworth. Ground breaking, A historical investigation into the Tulsa massacre told Insider. “There were 35 restaurants. The number of grocery stores and meat markets was the same. There were 12 churches. Two African-American schools and one black public library branch. , There was one African-American hospital. “
Black professionals living in Greenwood prospered.
The Tulsa race massacre began with a black teenager accused of attacking a white woman. An attack on Greenwood began when a group of black World War I veterans armed with a Lynch mob clashed outside the court where the boy was detained.
“I will never forget the violence of the white mob when I left home,” Fletcher said. On the night of the slaughter, she knew her family had to leave Greenwood, she added.
For hours from May 31st to June 1st, white residents destroyed Greenwood, plundered businesses, fired on black families, and set fire to the neighborhood. To report According to experts, an estimated 300 people have died and thousands have been displaced.
“I still see a black man shot and a black body lying on the street. I still smell smoke and see fire. Black business is burned and planes are flying overhead. I can still hear it. I can hear a scream, “Fletcher told the House of Representatives. ..
Another survivor, 106-year-old Lessy Benningfield, in her testimony likened the slaughter to war.
“My community was full of beautiful, happy and successful black people, and then everything changed,” she said. “It was like a war. A white man with a gun came and destroyed my community. I couldn’t understand why.”
“I have lived a genocide every day,” Fletcher said. Fletcher is joined by another survivor, her 100-year-old brother Hughes van Ellis. “Our country may forget this history, but I will never forget it. I will not forget it. I will not forget the other survivors. And we will not forget our descendants,” she said. Continued.
The slaughter expelled Fletcher’s family from Greenwood’s home, telling lawmakers that “she has lost the opportunity to educate,” and “never graduated from school and passed fourth grade.” Added.
Last year, the survivors and descendants of the slaughter Compensation proceedingsAccording to court documents, the proceedings were filed against seven different organizations, including the city of Tulsa, its county sheriff, and the Oklahoma Military Affairs Bureau.
President Joe Biden will visit Tulsa on Tuesday, the 100th anniversary of the riots.
“We are not looking for handouts, we are looking for opportunities to be treated like first-class citizens,” said Ellis, a World War II veterinarian, in emotional testimony. “Don’t let me leave this planet without justice, like other survivors of the slaughter.”
“I have survived 100 years of painful memories and losses,” Randall said. “By God’s Grace B, I’m still here. I survived to tell this story. I believe I’m still here and can share it with you. Hopefully I I hope you will hear us while we are still here. “
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