Hughes Van Ellis, 100, testified in front of Congress calling for justice and accountability ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre. Photo courtesy of C-SPAN.

The three remaining survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre testified before Congress on Wednesday, ahead of its 100th anniversary on May 31.

Viola Fletcher, 107, and her younger brother Hughes Van Ellis, 100, delivered their testimony in person. Lessie Benningfield Randle, 106, also testified via video. All three testimonies are available in full.

YouTube video

The testimony, delivered in front of the House Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Subcommittee, called for justice, accountability, official acknowledgement of the massacre and for reparations to be paid.

On May 31, 1921, a white mob attacked homes and businesses in the Greenwood district, known at the time as Black Wall Street. Thousands were left homeless, businesses were destroyed and bodies were in the streets. Reports at the time counted 36 deaths, but historians now believe a more accurate count is around 300.

No one has ever been held accountable.

“We are not asking for a handout. All we are asking for is for a chance to be treated like a first-class citizen,” Van Ellis said. “We are asking for justice for a lifetime of ongoing harm, harm that was caused by the massacre.”

Maya Pottiger is a data journalist for Word in Black. She was previously a data journalist for the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism at the University of Maryland, where she earned both her BA and Master of Journalism. Her work has been featured...