Tulsa Race Massacre survivors set to attend interim study hearing at Oklahoma Capitol

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma - Oklahoma state Representative and reparations advocate Regina Goodwin's interim study of the Tulsa Race Massacre is set for a hearing at the State Capitol this week.

Oklahoma state Representative and Greenwood descendant Regina Goodwin is leading legislative efforts to ensure justice and reparations for the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.
Oklahoma state Representative and Greenwood descendant Regina Goodwin is leading legislative efforts to ensure justice and reparations for the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.  © IMAGO / USA TODAY Network

The Oklahoma House Governmental Committee is scheduled to hear an interim study on the infamous Tulsa Race Massacre at the State Capitol on Thursday starting at 1:00 PM.

The brutal attack, which took place over May 31 and June 1, 1921, saw a mob of white law enforcement officers and deputized civilians terrorize Tulsa's historic Greenwood community, known as Black Wall Street.

Hundreds of Black residents were murdered, and thousands of buildings and homes were razed to the ground.

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After the coordinated white-supremacist assault, authorities sought to cover up the crimes by destroying police records and burying bodies in unmarked mass graves.

Survivors and their descendants have long fought for recognition and repair as many officials continue to downplay the nature and scale of the atrocities.

Tulsa Race Massacre survivors expected to appear at Oklahoma Capitol

Front left to right: Lessie Benningfield Randle (108), Viola Ford Fletcher (109), and Hughes Van Ellis (102) are the last three known living survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.
Front left to right: Lessie Benningfield Randle (108), Viola Ford Fletcher (109), and Hughes Van Ellis (102) are the last three known living survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.  © Brandon Bell / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Goodwin, a Greenwood descendant and House District 73 representative, is leading legislative efforts to provide restitution to the victims and the community, and on Thursday, she and other state legislators will consider progress on recommendations outlined in the 2001 Tulsa Race Riot Commission Report.

The last three known living survivors of the massacre – Viola Ford Fletcher (109), Lessie Benningfield Randle (108), and Hughes Van Ellis (102) – are expected to be in attendance at the hearing.

The three centenarians are also in the midst of a legal battle for reparations, with the Oklahoma Supreme Court agreeing to review an appeal after the historic lawsuit was shot down by conservative Judge Caroline Wall earlier this summer.

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"While this study is long overdue, we are blessed to have eyewitnesses, our great survivors, more than 100 years later, among us," Goodwin said in a statement, according to Fox 23.

"We will stare American history in the face to truthfully discuss recommendations, challenges, reparations, and policy," she continued. "Right solutions lead to long-sought restorative justice."

The hearing, which will cover topics related to compensation, scholarships, economic development, and memorials, will be live-streamed here.

Cover photo: IMAGO / USA TODAY Network

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