Program Success Magazine June 2021 | Page 24

Black Wall Street

Tulsa Race Massacre 100 Years Later : Why it appened and Why it ’ s still Relevant Today

The massacre ’ s aftermath
Within a week of the massacre , at least 6,000 of the remaining residents were detained in internment camps . They were issued identification tags and remained at the camps — some for months — and could not leave without their tags and permission from white supervisors , the report said . Black residents never received any financial assistance after the massacre to rebuild . Some filed insurance claims or lawsuits , but none resulted in payment due to riot clauses , the report said . They were left to rebuild on their own .
Fletcher ’ s brother Hughes Van Ellis , 100 , and a World War II veteran , said his childhood was hard as his family recovered from the massacre .
“ We didn ’ t have much . What little we had would be stolen from us ,” Ellis told the committee . “ When something is stolen from you , you go to the courts to be made whole . This wasn ’ t the case for us . The courts in Oklahoma wouldn ’ t hear us . The devil courts said we were too late . We were made to feel that our struggle was unworthy of justice and that we were less valued than whites , that we weren ’ t fully American .”
Fletcher served white families for most of her life as a domestic worker . “ I never made much money ,” she said . “ To this day , I can barely afford my everyday needs .”
Program Success 24 June 2021
Hughes Van Ellis , left , a Tulsa Race Massacre survivor and Viola Fletcher , second right , oldest living survivor of the Tulsa Race Massacre , testify before the Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Subcommittee hearing on “ Continuing Injustice : The Centennial of the Tulsa-Greenwood Race Massacre ” on Capitol Hill on May 19 , 2021
“ I had everything a child could need ,” Viola Ford Fletcher , 107 , told the committee . “ The night of the massacre , I was awakened by my family . My parents and five siblings were there . I was told we had to leave and that was it .
I will never forget the violence of the hate mob when we left our home . I still see Black men being shot , Black bodies lying in the street . I still smell smoke and see fog . I still see Black businesses being burned . I still hear airplanes flying overhead . I hear the screams . I live through the massacre every day . Our country may forget this history , but I cannot .”
Crowds of whites gather just across the Frisco tracks , literally in downtown Tulsa and watched as Black Wall Street burned .