The oldest living survivor of the Tulsa Massacre of 1921, Viola “Mother” Fletcher, celebrated her 107th birthday recently. Fletcher reached the milestone birthday on May 5 of this year.
“I’ll say that I’m Black and I’m proud,” she said in an interview. “Nothing you can do about who you are regardless of what you look like… We have the same red blood as other people.”
Fletcher is among the last living survivors of the massacre that took the lives of at least 300 Black people in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She was seven years old at the time and recently returned to the city’s Greenwood District along with another living survivor, Hughes Van Ellis.
Greenwood, according to the Tulsa Historical Society and Museum, was often called “Black Wall Street” due to its affluent Black-owned businesses.
Fletcher joined the push to get reparations for Black Oklahomans. On Tuesday (May 11), she joined a press conference to combat a bill signed by Gov. Kevin Stitt that would ban certain topics on race and genders from being taught in schools.
In recognition of her life and continued work, a tribute video was made in her honor.
In a 2014 interview with Oklahoma State University’s Oral history Research Program, People reported. She also shared her secret to longevity at the time. “We just do the things that are good for you,” she said. “Sleeping and eating and exercising. It’s no problem with me.”
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