1921 Tulsa Race Massacre survivors received $100K each

By: Maximillian Boudreaux

Survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre will be recognized with an honorarium of $100,000 each from the Justice for Greenwood Foundation, which coincides with the 100-year commemoration. According to the press release, the beneficiaries for these donations are Mother Viola Fletcher, Mother Lessie Benningfield Randle and Hughes Van Ellis.

This celebration finally came to fruition after years of pleading for justice, reparations and an appropriate acknowledgment in response to the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921. In 1921, whites killed hundreds of Blacks and brought down Greenwood’s thriving Black Wall Street.

“I still see Black men being shot, Black bodies lying in the street, I still smell smoke and see fire,” Fletcher testified. “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.”

The 107-year-old said she can never forget this history as she testified on her first time visit to Washington, D.C.

“We live this history, and we can’t ignore it,” Fletcher said. “We lost everything that day, our homes, our churches, our newspapers, our theaters, our lives.”

Survivors revealed they spent a great deal of their lives in poverty and asked for ways to rectify the incident throughout the years.

The money given to the survivors was made possible through donations from the Justice for Greenwood Foundation supporters, Color of Change members as well as fundraising efforts.

“We are immensely proud to play our role in rectifying these injustices,” Solomon Simmons said. “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. Now, we must work to ensure their stories are told, confronting our past and learning from it, to ensure we actively challenge enduring injustices.”

As the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre was approaching, the Color of Change established a campaign. The campaign had more than 20,000 supporters. It would hold the city of Tulsa accountable for their neglect in acknowledging one of the most devastating racially violent events in American history.

So far the $100,000 check is the only form of payment the survivors have received after their major lost nearly 100 years ago.


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