In 1921 the 10,000 Black residents of Tulsa’s neighborhood of Greenwood, witnessed the pillaging and destruction of their community.
For about 18 hours, some 1,500 white men burned 1,256 houses along with various Black-owned businesses including a hospital and school. Greenwood once held the pillars of its nickname “Black Wall Street”. For decades America tried to cover up that the incident. For a lot of the public, they had no idea the evil act even happened until a poignant reminder occurred on HBO’s Watchmen.
HBO – Watchmen (Tulsa Race Massacre Scene)
The Smithsonian – Colorized Footage of Greenwood
A hundred and one years later, three known survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre were given $1 million in donations from a philanthropic organization called Business for Good.
Co-founders Ed and Lisa Mitzen of the New York organization are giving 108-year-old Viola Ford Fletcher, 107-year-old Lessie Benningfield Randle and 101-year-old Hughes Van Ellis a moment of time to share $1 million. These three survivors previously received $100,000 each from the Tulsa-based non-profit The Justice for Greenwood Foundation. They and several other descendants are currently suing the City of Tulsa and other entities for reparations in the destruction and lost wealth of their community. Their fight against the system inspired Ed and Lisa Mitzen show action.
Ed Mitzen spoke with Tulsa World, on the hope that his organization’s donation may bring.
I was reminded of these three amazing people and how they have never given up; they have continued to fight for what’s right.
We feel incredibly humbled and honored to be in a position to help out a little bit, and we hope that this will inspire other people to step up, either here or in their communities and spread some love.