A 107-yr-old witness to the Tulsa Race Massacre just gave a powerful testimony to Congress

One hundred years ago, the Greenwood district of Tulsa, Oklahoma was a bustling Mecca of Black-owned businesses and a community where Black Americans thrived. It was known colloquially as "Black Wall Street," and was an anomaly in a state where the KKK actively worked to keep Black people oppressed.

On May 31 and June 1, 1921, it all changed. An alleged assault attempt by a young Black man against a young white woman (which never amounted to anything, as all charges were dropped) sparked protests, violence, and ultimately, a massacre by white mobs who murdered, looted, and set fire to Black Wall Street. More than 1200 homes were destroyed, churches were burned, and businesses wiped out. Thousands of white people descended on Greenwood and obliterated 35 city blocks in 24 hours, causing irreparable financial damage in addition to the emotional toll of the massacre.

The death count has never been verified. One newspaper initially only reported that two white people were killed in the "race riot." Current estimates put the number killed at around 300, almost all of them Black residents. Thousands of those left behind had to live in tents and try to pick up the pieces of their lives, literally and figuratively.


But many Americans never learn this history. It has rarely been taught in schools, even in Oklahoma, partially because much of the documentation of the massacre was covered up. A 1997 commission organized by the city examined documents and interviewed survivors to piece together what really happened on those days, and they released a report on their findings in 2001. Of their many notable findings, the commission determined that white Tulsa officials participated in the violence, even providing the white mob with firearms and ammunition to terrorize the Black residents.

The massacre of Tulsa's "Black Wall Street" www.youtube.com

The survivors that the city interviewed are gone now, but there are still a few people left who witnessed the massacre.

107-year-old Viola Fletcher, the oldest living survivor, testified this week before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, asking the U.S. to formally "acknowledge what happened in Tulsa in 1921" on its centennial. Her testimony was powerful.

"I still see Black men being shot, Black bodies lying in the street. I still smell smoke and see fire," Fletcher told lawmakers. "I still see Black businesses being burned. I still hear airplanes flying overhead. I hear the screams. I have lived through the massacre every day."

"I am 107 years old and have never seen justice," she said. "I pray that one day I will. I have been blessed with a long life -- and have seen the best and worst of this country. I think about the terror inflicted upon Black people in this country every day."

Watch her powerful 7-minute testimony:

POWERFUL: Oldest living survivor of Tulsa race massacre testifies in front of House www.youtube.com


Another survivor, 106-year-old Lessie Benningfield Randle also testified about what she witnessed when she was six.

"They burned houses and businesses. They just took what they wanted out of the buildings then they burned them," she said." They murdered people. We were told they just dumped the dead bodies into the river. I remember running outside of our house. I ran past dead bodies. It wasn't a pretty sight. I still see it today in my mind—100 years later."

The remaining survivors have called for reparations, citing the inability of the community to rebuild following the massacre, especially in light of the Jim Crow laws and racist economic policies that followed.

Many Americans tend to think of the history of blatant, violent, government-sanctioned racism as something in the distant past, but there are still people alive today who remember this massacre that took place in 1921. And that year was a mere 50 years after the start of the Civil War, which means many Black Americans living in the South at that time had been born into slavery. That history is simply not that far away.

All three of the testimonies from survivors of the Tulsa-Greenwood Race Massacre are powerful. You can watch the full House Judiciary hearing here:

Continuing Injustice: The Centennial of the Tulsa-Greenwood Race Massacre www.youtube.com

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


*Upworthy may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through affiliate links on our site.

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Over the past six years, it feels like race relations have been on the decline in the U.S. We've lived through Donald Trump's appeals to America's racist underbelly. The nation has endured countless murders of unarmed Black people by police. We've also been bombarded with viral videos of people calling the police on people of color for simply going about their daily lives.

Earlier this year there was a series of incidents in which Asian-Americans were the targets of racist attacks inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given all that we've seen in the past half-decade, it makes sense for many to believe that race relations in the U.S. are on the decline.

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Photo courtesy of Macy's
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Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.


Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

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