Tulsa Race Massacre Survivors Given Ghanaian Citizenship At Ceremony In Washington

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March 1, 2023.Washinton DC –

108- year-old Viola Fletcher, and her 101-year-old brother, Van Ellis, two of the three last-known living survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre have received their Ghanaian citizenship at a solemn but impressive ceremony held by the Ghana Tourism Authority and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture at the Ghana Embassy in Washinton DC. Over 150 influential members of the African American and Ghanaian Community in the USA attended the event.

In 2021, Fletcher, affectionately called “Mother Fletcher,” and Ellis, often called “Uncle Red,” traveled to Ghana for the first time where the country’s President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo conferred on them Ghanaian citizenship.

Welcoming the gathering, Ghana’s Ambassador to the United States of America, Hajia Alima Mahama recounted Ghana’s long standing history of Pan-Africanism and said the Country “continues to build bridges between the continent of Africa and Africans in the Diaspora in extraordinary ways”.

The CEO of the Ghana Tourism Authority, Akwasi Agyeman, said the event was a perfect climax to the Black History Month celebration in the United States of America , highlighting Ghana’s Diaspora Pathways pillar as part of the Beyond the Return Project. “Your story of survival is an important imprint in the story of the African Americans in America. It is also a story that shows the resilience of the African spirit and on which we can stand to strengthen the bonds between Africa and its diaspora community”, he emphasised.

According to Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, he was hopeful the event ” will resonate and inspire others to make the journey back home to the motherland like mother Fletcher and Uncle Red did” ” I am looking forward to this ceremony opening new doors of engagement in tourism, trade and Investments amongst us as Africans and our brothers and sisters in the diaspora” . Dr Awal added that the Government of Ghana was committed tp creating an environment that will encourage diaspora investment, create jobs for the youth and enhance livelihoods.

Regina Goodwin, a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, responding on behalf of the family said “we are honored to be receiving Ghanaian citizenship for our priceless Black icons. Mother Fletcher and Uncle Red wanted to visit the Motherland before they caught their wings,” Godwin stated. “Now they have more than that. We thank the President and People of Ghana for this honour done to not just them, but the African American community in the United States”. Mother Fletcher and Van Ellis opted for Ghana due to it’s credentials as the hub of global diaspora engagement and the home of Pan Africanism.

Dignitaries who graced rhe ocassion included Ghanaian Musical icon, Rocky Dawuni, Hollywood Actress A.J Johnson, Ghana’s Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Hon. Cecelia Dapaah, Ike Howard, Grandson of Mother Fletcher, Akwasi Awuah Ababio, Director, Diaspora Affairs – Office of the President , Annabelle McKenzie, Director of the Beyond the Return Secretariat. Adwoa Asamoah, National Advisor for Black Engagement for the Biden-Harris campaign, Jasmine Young, Director of Warner Music/Blavatnik Center for Music Business at Howard University, Maxwell Edusei, CEO the African Loom

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Ghana welcomes 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Survivors to fulfill their dream of visiting Africa

Posted By : visitghadmin/ 684

There was so much anticipation and emotion while waiting for the flight carrying two survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre to arrive in Accra.  In 1921, the area of Greenwood in the city of Tulsa Oklahoma was burned down by a mob of whites who targeted the thriving black community. Thousands were left homeless and many were killed in the attack. Viola Fletcher, aka, ‘Mother Fletcher’, who was 7 years old at the time is till haunted by memories of the viscous attack. She’s often said that it’s been a dream to visit Africa before she sees God and this journey would fulfill that desire. Fletcher, who is 107 years old, and her brother Hughes Van Ellis, aka ‘Uncle Red’ age 100, have successfully fulfilled the lifelong dream of coming to Africa when they landed in Accra yesterday afternoon.

Co-Founding Chair of the African Legacy Foundation, Dr. Toni Luck, who flew in from Johannesburg, South Africa and Ambassador Erieka Bennett, who is Head of Missions at the Diaspora African Forum, both were so filled with joy knowing that they were about to land in Ghana.  “It’s like waiting for my own grandmother,” Bennett said.  Dr. Luck, was pacing around the VIP lounge with so much excitement like a child on Christmas morning. She said she’s met Mother Fletcher before, but this moment was more special than any other.

There was so much anticipation and emotion while waiting for the flight carrying two survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre to arrive in Accra.  In 1921, the area of Greenwood in the city of Tulsa Oklahoma was burned down by a mob of whites who targeted the thriving black community. Thousands were left homeless and many were killed in the attack. Viola Fletcher, aka, ‘Mother Fletcher’, who was 7 years old at the time is till haunted by memories of the viscous attack. She’s often said that it’s been a dream to visit Africa before she sees God and this journey would fulfill that desire. Fletcher, who is 107 years old, and her brother Hughes Van Ellis, aka ‘Uncle Red’ age 100, have successfully fulfilled the lifelong dream of coming to Africa when they landed in Accra yesterday afternoon.

Co-Founding Chair of the African Legacy Foundation, Dr. Toni Luck, who flew in from Johannesburg, South Africa and Ambassador Erieka Bennett, who is Head of Missions at the Diaspora African Forum, both were so filled with joy knowing that they were about to land in Ghana.  “It’s like waiting for my own grandmother,” Bennett said.  Dr. Luck, was pacing around the VIP lounge with so much excitement like a child on Christmas morning. She said she’s met Mother Fletcher before, but this moment was more special than any other.

When the car pulled up with the two centenarians everyone applauded with overwhelming joy.  Mother Fletcher and Uncle Redd both stepped out of the airport car, grabbed their walkers and made their way into the VIP lounge to be greeted by everyone.  After all the necessary protocols were taken care of at the airport, the siblings were escorted to their vehicles and made their way to their hotel where they were greeted with a true Ghanaian welcome featuring a cultural display of drumming and dancing in their honour.  Uncle Redd was spotted moving his hands to the beat of the drum and Mother Fletcher’s eyes showed true joy as her grandson, Ike Vernon Howard, spun her around in a wheelchair dancing to the music.

The Diaspora African Forum played a big role in coordinating with Our Black Truth to make this trip a success with the support of The Diaspora Affairs Office of the President, Beyond the Return and Ghana Tourism Authority.  The coming week is filled with some activities that will give them an opportunity to experience Ghana, learn the culture and history while meeting some wonderful people.  Fletcher and Van Ellis are in for the experience of a lifetime.

 

By Ivy Prosper

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