Survivors of 1921 Tulsa Massacre Testify in Congress, Reliving Their Horrific Ordeal

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The lawmakers heard testimony from three survivors of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre on Wednesday, describing the horrors they witnessed as children when a racist mob descended into a thriving black district in the city, resulting in a massive loss of life and property. The damage was done and left thousands of people. Homeless.

“When we left our house, I will never forget the violence of the white mob,” said Viola Fletcher, 107, testified to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Freedom. “I still see black men shooting, black bodies lying on the street. I still smell the smoke and see the fire. I still see black businesses burning. I still see airplanes.” Hear me flying upwards. I hear screams. I have gone through carnage every day. “

Extreme terrorist violence, including looting, shooting black people in broad daylight, and even explosives, was a swollen, but never proven, sexual assault of a white woman by a young black man Was rumored to be.

Fletcher is one of only three survivors of the massacre, which took place from May 31 to June 1, 1921, and resulted in a very long period of time. She said that this forced her family to move out of Tulsa and changed the course of her life, denying her education and opportunities that she would have otherwise enjoyed.

Estimates vary depending on the number of deaths, ranging from 100 to 300, although some historians claim that more people were killed. The attack destroyed the area around Greenwood, Archer and Pine Streets known as “Black Wall Street”, known for its self-sufficient economics and with more than 300 Black-owned businesses , There were many opportunities for African Americans. in the community. 35 blocks were destroyed.

related: Oklahoma schools incorporate the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre into its curriculum

The subcommittee hearing was the second time around the massacre. The first one took place in 2007 and came with legislation that allowed affected people to take legal action in federal court despite the statute of limitations, United states today Reported. However, the law was never approved, but California Representative Hank Johnson He said he would introduce another bill that would provide equal opportunities for litigation.

“You can be taught that when something is stolen from you, you can go to the courts so that you can be full – you can go to the courts for justice,” he said. Hughes van Aliso, A 100-year-old survivor and Fletcher’s younger brother. “This was not the case for us. The courts in Oklahoma will not hear us. Federal courts said we were too late. We were made to feel that our struggle was not worthy of justice.”

“Mother” Lacey Benningfield Randall108, the third survivor of the massacre, described the incident as saying that she lived a happy life as a little girl in Tulsa before targeting her community.

He testified, “They burned homes and businesses. They took just what they wanted from the buildings and then they burned them. They killed people. We were told that they threw the dead bodies into the river.” “I remember we were running outside our house. I ran after the dead bodies. It was not a pretty sight. I still see it in my mind today – 100 years later.”

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The victims’ descendants, along with the Tulsa African Ancestral Society and Vernon AME Church, are three-century plaintiffs, the only Black-owned structure to stand up in a lawsuit filed last September to compensate for the damage done to the community. Family and Personal Life.

“Residents of the Greenwood and North Tulsa communities are facing racially disparate treatment and city-built barriers to basic human needs, including jobs, financial security, education, housing, justice, and health,” the lawsuit states, According to cnn.

The plaintiff said that the damage was never actually repaired and as a result he has lived his life in poverty. Years of economic hardships, opportunities constraints and public curse were its consequences. The lawsuit, which names the City of Tulsa, the Tulsa Regional Chamber and the Tulsa County Board of Commissioners, says no agency or government institution attempted to repair the caries. Neither agency has commented on the lawsuit.

“They owe us something. They owed me something. I’ve lived poor most of my life. My opportunities were taken from me and my community. Black Tulsa, northern Tulsa, is still a mess today. They didn’t rebuild it. It’s empty. It’s a ghetto, “Randall said.

related: Not Just Tulsa: Five Other Racial Massacres That Destroyed Black America

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