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Well wishes pour in for Tulsa Race Massacre survivor's birthday celebration

Race massacre survivor Viola Fletcher leaves the Tulsa County Courthouse on her 109th birthday with her brother, fellow survivor Hughes Van Ellis (left) on Wednesday, May 10, 2023.
Elizabeth Caldwell
/
KWGS News
Race massacre survivor Viola Fletcher leaves the Tulsa County Courthouse on her 109th birthday with her brother, fellow survivor Hughes Van Ellis (left) on Wednesday, May 10, 2023.

Viola Fletcher, one of the last two survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, is a supercentenarian. The oldest living survivor turned 110 years old on Friday.

Ahead of private birthday celebrations for Fletcher in Dallas, Texas, several friends and community members wished her well via video.

"From one freedom fighter to another, thank you for all you have done," said Daniel Stein, a representative for Democrats Abroad in Mexico City, Mexico.

Members of the Booker T. Washington High School choir sang for Fletcher in their video message.

Other north Tulsans chipped in too.

"May God richly bless you continuously," said Willie Sells of Tee's Barber Shop.

Fletcher, who was seven-years-old at the time of the massacre, survived with her brother, Hughes Van Ellis, who died in October at the age of 102.

She and fellow survivor Lessie Benningfield Randle are part of an historic lawsuit against the city of Tulsa, claiming city officials were complicit in the massacre and asking for reparations.

A Tulsa County district judge dismissed the case last year, but the survivors' team appealed to the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

Ben Abrams is a news reporter and All Things Considered host for KWGS.
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