Only three survivors remain from the Tulsa Race Massacre, the 1921 attack in which a white mob descended upon the city’s affluent Black neighborhood of Greenwood, torched more than 1,250 homes, and killed hundreds.
Last week (May 18), a New York philanthropic organization awarded Viola Ford Fletcher, 108, Lessie Benningfield Randle, 107, and Hughes Van Ellis, 101, with a check for $1 million. The event took place at the Greenwood Cultural Center, an African-American history museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The Business for Good Foundation donated the funds and the money will be split between the three survivors of the 1921 tragedy.
Cofounder of the New York-based non-profit Ed Mitzen said that an article he read about the situation inspired him to make the donation. He added that the amount of time passed should not change any of the circumstances.
“The fact that it was a 101-years-ago shouldn’t negate the fact that they were wronged,” Mitzen said. “We thought that by us giving a little bit of financial help to the families and survivors and their children and grandchildren, would help brighten their day. Make them realize that people care and that their struggle mattered.”
Viola Ford Fletcher’s grandson, Ike Howard, was thankful for the donation. “It’s gonna change quite a few lives,” Howard said. “Personally for them, it will assure that they can do whatever they wanna do.”
According to the Atlanta Black Star, no white person was ever arrested or charged after a mob of white people descended upon a Black area of town known as “The Black Wallstreet” and unleashed chaos.
Fletcher, who was just 7 at the time, recalled the appalling events. “I will never forget the violence of the white mob when we left our home,” she said.
“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,” Fletcher added.
As previously reported by REVOLT, earlier this month, it was announced that the City of Tulsa will stand trial for its role in the deadly massacre. Judge Caroline Wall ruled that the case can move forward, however, it is not clear when that trial will begin.
They deserve that and a lot more.