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Diasporian News of Thursday, 19 August 2021


'This is for us' - Igbo King says after hosting living survivors of 1921 Tulsa massacre

Mrs. Viola Floyd Fletcher, Hughes Van Ellis with the King of the Igbo community in Ghana play videoMrs. Viola Floyd Fletcher, Hughes Van Ellis with the King of the Igbo community in Ghana

The King of the Nigerian Igbo Community in Ghana, His Royal Majesty Eze Dr. Chukwudi Jude Ihenetu has said history was made on Wednesday, August 18, 2021, after he hosted two known living survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 in his palace in Ghana's capital, Accra.

The iconic figures, Viola Fletcher who is 107-years-old and her brother Hughes Van Ellis who is 100-years-old requested to visit Africa where they believe they are originally from.

At the color-filled ceremony, HRM Eze Ihenetu told MyNigeria journalist, Novieku Babatunde Adeola on the sidelines that the historic visit is a win for Nigerians in Diaspora adding that the visit of the centenarians is a blessing.

"This is a recognition for Nigerians in the diaspora. It’s not an easy thing for the American Embassy, American government to approve that such a state woman be crowned over here, in the palace of Nigerians," HRM Eze Ihenetu said.

He continued: "This is for us, and that is why all of us are here today. So it is a blessing to each and every one of us. Not for me alone, but for everybody and our future to come."

"It is our prayer that such recognition given to us today will never stop, and that we go higher and higher, he added.

The famous centenarian, Mrs. Viola Floyd Fletcher, and her brother, Hughes Van Ellis, also known as "Uncle Red" were ordained as chiefs by the Igbo community in Ghana, one of the largest communities in the country.

At a plush, color-filled ceremony at the palace of the Igbo king in Accra, the centenarians were treated to performances from various Nigerian groups in Ghana including the Yoruba Dancing Group, the Abia State Women, and the Igbo Masquerade Group.

Clad in native outfits, Mrs. Fletcher’s name will be prefixed with the title, Ebube Ndi Igbo, meaning the glory of Igbos, while Hughes Van Ellis Uncle Red will be known with the title, Ikeoha Ndi Igbo, meaning the strength of the Igbos.

What you should know about the Tulsa Race Masaccre reports that there are just three known survivors left of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre — but between them, they've now had 300 years total to reflect on the horrors and trauma that the infamous night wrought upon them.

Though the massacre, which historians believe may have killed as many as 300 people, has not received nearly as much attention as other historical events in the U.S., it was a devastating turning point for Tulsa, specifically the city's Greenwood District, which was often called "Black Wall Street" for its affluent African-American business district.

Born in 1914, Fletcher was only seven years old when white mobs descended on the thriving Black community in Tulsa’s Greenwood District, also known as Black Wall Street, in 1921, burning it to the ground, reported at a recent hearing after taking legal actions against the city and Oklahoma in seeking reparations over the attack.

Fletcher said when her family left Tulsa, she lost her chance to get an education and “never finished school past the fourth grade.”

Hughes Van Ellis, known as "Uncle Red," who testified alongside his sister is a World War II veteran who served in an all-Black unit of the Army in the China Burma India Theater.

"Because of the massacre, my family was driven out of our home. We were left with nothing. We were laid refugees in our own country. My childhood was hard and we didn't have much. We worried that the little we had would be stolen from us just like it was stolen in Tulsa," he said at the hearing.