I have often said history is a living thing and yesterday bore witness to that.
Viola Fletcher one hundred and seven years old gave testimony as to what happened on the night of May
31 and June 1 one hundred years ago in 1921. Viola was seven at the time of the Greenwood Massacre.
It was then as it is now an America simmering in racial hatred
looking for an excuse to manifest itself. There was an
accusation that a shoeshine boy assaulted a white woman.
The situation got out of hand when a white mob showed up at the jail.
A gunfight broke out between the mob and a number
of armed black men defending the jail. Was ensued was
nothing but mob rule mayhem and outright murder.
Thirty-five square blocks were burned to the ground. Homes,
businesses, churches and theaters burned to the ground.
Ironically Greenwood existed within Tulsa Oklahoma and the
city and its institutions conspired with the mob. Some
estimates claim three hundred people of color were killed. In
addition survivors were detained in camps.
Worse yet the society attempted to cover up what happened.
The city of Tulsa, the State of Oklahoma, even the media kept
only scant records of what happened.
Viola ensured the world knows what happened and she
bore witness as the truth crawled out of the darkness. It also
shows not much has changed as hatred and bigotry still exist,
and there are three people still alive to tell the tale.
What it says is in western society we have a long way to go
collectively to tackle the problem rather that masking the
symptoms of a problem that crawls in and out from under the
rocks from time to time but never goes away.