By Victor Omondi
To mark 100 years after the horrific Tulsa race massacre, the Justice for Greenwood Foundation will award the three living survivors a $300K gift. The move comes after years of calls for reparations and justice for the survivors of the Greenwood murders.
May 31 and June 1, 1921, saw all hell break loose on the thriving Black neighborhood of Greenwood, “Black Wall Street,” when white rioters rampaged the town and caused mayhem. As a result, hundreds of Black lives were lost, businesses burned down, and homes destroyed, leaving nearly 10,000 people homeless. Until today no survivor of this massacre nor their relatives has ever been compensated.
The three remaining survivors Mother Viola Fletcher, Mother Lessie Benningfield, and Hughes Van Ellis, will each receive $100K of the compensation gift. The gift was made possible through fundraising efforts, supporters of the Justice for Greenwood foundation, and the Color of Change members.
“This gift for the survivors of the Tulsa massacre shows that we have the power to demand justice for Black communities in Tulsa and all across the country,” said Damario Solomon Simmons, founder and executive director of the Justice for Greenwood Foundation, during a press release.
Fletcher, 107, together with the other two survivors, recently testified before congress, recounting the events of the Tulsa Massacre.
“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.”
President Joe Biden marked the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa massacre by visiting the once-thriving Black community. He decried the unfortunate 2-day massacre and called on all Americans to join hands to end the ugly face of systemic racism.
“Some injustices are so heinous, so horrific, so grievous, they cannot be buried, no matter how hard people try,” Biden said. “Only with truth can come healing.”
The president added that “Just because history is silent, it does not mean that it did not take place,” adding, “hell was unleashed, literal hell was unleashed.” And now, he said, the nation must come to grips with the subsequent sin of denial.