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Tulsa Race Massacre survivor Hughes Van Ellis dies at 102

Posted at 7:19 PM, Oct 09, 2023

TULSA, Okla. — One of the three remaining Tulsa Race Massacre survivors died Monday morning in Denver, Colorado. Hughes Van Ellis was 102.

Ellis was not even a year old when the Tulsa Race Massacre happened. He toldScripps News it was hard for his family to get back on their feet after the massacre.

He fought in WWII alongside the British. In his later years, he was often seen proudly wearing a U.S. Army Veteran hat.

Ellis, with his sister survivor Viola Fletcher, 109, testified before Congress, sharing how the massacre not only impacted their lives but the lives of the community. After the testimony, President Joe Biden submitted a proclamation to recognize May 31, 2021
as a Day of Remembrance: 100 Years After The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

He continually fought for justice in Greenwood and inspired generations of people to fight with him.

He is survived not only by his family but by his sister, who continues to fight for reparations with the Justice for Greenwood team.

Representative Regina Goodwin sent the following statement on behalf of his family.

Mr. Hughes Van Ellis, 102, passed Mon. Oct. 9th at 11:30 am in Denver, Colorado. A loving family man, he was known as “Uncle Redd”. He was among the three last known survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, one of the most horrific acts of racist terrorism on American soil.

A WWIl , war veteran, Mr. Ellis, bravely served America, even as he spent a lifetime awaiting atonement related to the Tulsa Race Massacre. Mr. Ellis was aware, survivors, his sister Mrs. Viola Ford Fletcher,109 , Mrs. Lessie Benningfield Randle, 108 and family descendants were recently at our state capitol interim study focused on 2001 state commissioned reparation recommendations.

Two days ago, Mr. Ellis, urged us to keep fighting for justice. In the midst of his death, there remains an undying sense of right and wrong. Mr. Ellis was assured we would remain steadfast and we repeated to him, his own words, “ We Are One” and we lastly expressed our love.

The scripture of Jeremiah 6 reads “ This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. “ We celebrate the rare life of Mr. Hughes Van Ellis who inspires us still!

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