109-year-old survivor of 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre shares memories of horrific event in new book ‘Don’t Let Them Bury My Story’

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DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) — It is one of the most disturbing chapters in Black history – the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

Now, at age 109, Viola Ford Fletcher wants to make sure the terror is not forgotten with her new book, “Don’t Let Them Bury My Story.”

“A group of people were killed, their homes were burned … businesses, churches and stores and theatres. Anything the Black people owned or operated was destroyed,” said Fletcher.

She sat down with ABC7 in downtown Los Angeles to discuss kicking off her West Coast book tour alongside her grandson, co-author Ike Howard. They are visiting L.A. during Black History Month to be leaders in a discussion that addresses historical injustices.

“We are here for ‘Theology in the Hood.’ It’s a group of churches coming together to back things like reparations and bring a voice to the voiceless,” said Howard. “One hundred years later, she’s happy to still be here, but some of her siblings are not here. Mentally and physically, they did suffer severe damage.”

However, Fletcher went on to do big things. In California, she played a role in building ships at Cal Ship during World War II.

“I worked in what they called the welding department that had the hot irons that would weld the ships of steel together,” she recalled.

This May, Fletcher will be 110. Her grandson is beyond proud – and rightfully so.

“I said, ‘One day, people are going to line up around the corner to buy your book,'” said Howard. “This is history. You’re a walking, living history.”

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