The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC), have held a Ghanaian Citizenship ceremony for two of the three last-known living survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre.
The two, 108-year-old Viola Fletcher, and her 101-year-old brother, Van Ellis, received their Ghanaian citizenship at a solemn but impressive ceremony at the Ghana Embassy in Washinton DC.
In 2021, Fletcher, affectionately called “Mother Fletcher,” and Ellis, often called “Uncle Red,” travelled to Ghana for the first time where President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, conferred on them Ghanaian citizenship.
Hajia Alima Mahama, Ghana’s Ambassador to the United States of America, welcoming the gathering, recounted Ghana’s long standing history of Pan-Africanism and said the Country “continues to build bridges between the continent of Africa and Africans in the Diaspora in extraordinary ways”.
Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, said he was hopeful the event would resonate and inspire others to make the journey back home to the motherland like “mother Fletcher and Uncle Red did”.
“I am looking forward to this ceremony opening new doors of engagement in tourism, trade and investments amongst us as Africans and our brothers and sisters in the diaspora”, he added.
Dr Awal said the Government was committed to creating an environment that would encourage diaspora investment, create jobs for the youth and enhance livelihoods.
The Chief Executive Officer, GTA, Mr Akwasi Agyeman, said the event was a perfect climax to the Black History Month celebration in the United States of America , highlighting Ghana’s Diaspora Pathways pillar as part of the Beyond the Return Project.
He said: “Your story of survival is an important imprint in the story of the African Americans in America. It is also a story that shows the resilience of the African spirit and on, which we can stand to strengthen the bonds between Africa and its diaspora community. ”
Madam Regina Goodwin, a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, responding on behalf of the family, said: “We are honoured to be receiving Ghanaian citizenship for our priceless Black icons. Mother Fletcher and Uncle Red wanted to visit the Motherland before they caught their wings, now they have more than that.
“We thank the President and People of Ghana for this honour done to not just them, but the African American community in the United States. ”
She noted that Mother Fletcher and Van Ellis opted for Ghana due to it’s credentials as the hub of global diaspora engagement and the home of Pan Africanism.
Dignitaries who graced the occasion included Ghanaian Musical icon, Rocky Dawuni, Hollywood Actress A.J Johnson, Ghana's Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Mrs. Cecelia Dapaah, Ike Howard, Grandson of Mother Fletcher, Akwasi Awuah Ababio, Director, Diaspora Affairs – Office of the President , and Annabelle McKenzie, Director of the Beyond the Return Secretariat.
Others were: Adwoa Asamoah, National Advisor for Black Engagement for the Biden-Harris campaign, Jasmine Young, Director of Warner Music/Blavatnik Center for Music Business at Howard University, and Maxwell Edusei, CEO, the African Loom.