Survivors Remember Tulsa Race Massacre 100 Years Later as Biden Marks Anniversary

Hughes Van Ellis, 100, Lessie Benningfield Randle, 106, also known as Mother Randle, and Viola Fletcher, 107, the oldest living survivor of the Tulsa Race Massacre and older sister of Van Ellis, attend the Black Wall Street Legacy Festival 2021 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S., May 28, 2021. REUTERS/Polly Irungu
Hughes Van Ellis, 100, Lessie Benningfield Randle, 106, also known as Mother Randle, and Viola Fletcher, 107, the oldest living survivor of the Tulsa Race Massacre and older sister of Van Ellis, attend the Black Wall Street Legacy Festival 2021 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S., May 28, 2021. REUTERS/Polly Irungu

Lessie Benningfield Randle, 106, can still remember a house engulfed in flames and bodies stacked in truckbeds – horrors that 100 years later led to a pledge by President Joe Biden to work for racial justice.

“I was quite a little kid but I remember running and the soldiers were coming in,” Randle said in an interview with Reuters as her hometown of Tulsa prepared to mark one of the darkest chapters in its history.

Monday was the centenary of a massacre targeting Tulsa’s prosperous African-American community in the district of Greenwood that bore the nickname Black Wall Street.

After a Black man was accused of assaulting a white woman, an allegation that was never proven, white rioters gunned down Blacks, looted homes and set fire to buildings block by block. More than 1,000 buildings were destroyed.

An estimated 300 people were killed, thousands were left homeless and an entire community that had been seen as a symbol of what Black Americans could achieve was devastated.

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Source: Reuters