Two survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre have been granted Ghanaian citizenship, The Justice for Greenwood Foundation announced on Tuesday.
Viola Fletcher, 108, and her brother Hughes Van Ellis, 102, have become the oldest African-Americans to be granted Ghanaian citizenship, according to the foundation.
The Justice for Greenwood Foundation said that it was “proud to stand in solidarity with the survivors, celebrating their resilience and their contribution to the history of Black Oklahoma,” the organization posted on Instagram.
A group of white vigilantes murdered about 300 Black residents of Greenwood, an affluent Oklahoma town known at that time as “Black Wall Street,” and destroyed their homes and places of business.
Ms. Fletcher, who is known as Mother Fletcher, and Mr. Van Ellis, also called Uncle Red, are two of the three living survivors of the massacre. They visited Ghana in August 2021 as part of a week-long tour of Africa to commemorate the centennial of the massacre.
During their visit to Ghana in 2021, Ms. Fletcher and Mr. Van Ellis were given royal Ghanian names, and they also met President Nana Akufo-Addo, who had invited people of African descent to the country to celebrate the “Year of Return” in 2019, which marks 400 years since the first enslaved Africans are believed to have arrived in the US.
The February 28th citizenship ceremony for the two centenarians took place at Ghana’s embassy in Washington, DC. According to the Washington Post, remarks made by Hajia Alima Mahamam, the US ambassador for Ghana, indicate that the two will be granted dual citizenship.