‘I have lived through the massacre every day,’ 107-year-old Viola Fletcher, the oldest living survivor of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, testified on Wednesday.
WASHINGTON — Three survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre testified before a U.S. House subcommittee on Wednesday, calling for justice for survivors and their descendants.
Over roughly 16 hours from May 31 to June 1, 1921, a white mob decimated the city’s once thriving Black district. Around 300 people were killed, 800 were wounded and there were more than 8,000 people left homeless.
“I’m here seeking justice and I’m asking my country to acknowledge what happened in Tulsa in 1921,” 107-year-old Viola Fletcher, the oldest living survivor of the Tulsa Race Massacre testified on Wednesday.
Fletcher recounted how she went to sleep in her family’s home that night and was awoken and told they had to leave.
“I will never forget the violence of the white mob when we left our home,” she described. “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. Our country may forget this history but I cannot, I will not and other survivors do not and our descendants do not.”
Attorneys for victims and their descendants have sued the City of Tulsa and other defendants seeking reparations for the massacre.
A series of events and activities are scheduled across Tulsa over Memorial Day weekend to commemorate the 100-year anniversary, including a performance by Grammy-award winning singer and songwriter John Legend.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.