Mother Viola Fletcher and Uncle Redd (with Mother Fletcher’s grandson Ike) at The Breakfast Club. (Photo credit: BET/YouTube screencap)
While Black History Month and Juneteenth have passed on until the next year, the importance of telling Black history and spreading awareness for social change never ends.
On a recent episode of The Breakfast Club, the podcast was joined by Mother Viola Fletcher and Uncle Redd; two living survivors of Tulsa, OK Black Wall Street Massacre. They were joined along with Fletcher’s grandson Ike Howard to promote their book Don’t Let Them Bury My Story. This book is about the life of Mother Viola Fletcher when she was months old during the massacre to address social awareness and how far society still has to go to make life a better place without the specter of racism.
Speaking for Mother Fletcher, Howard said the inspiration for the title came from racist white men telling other people not to speak of the massacre or they would kill their families. He told the podcast about how she was not willing to tell her grandson and grandchildren to protect them from the trauma. He was willing to protect Mother Fletcher if anything happened to her because he formerly served in the Army.
Howard remarks on his grandma’s words stating “Okay, you know, go tell my story. You know what I’m saying. As a matter of fact, go tell my damn story.” And so the title Don’t Let Them Bury My Story came to fruition.
Uncle Redd, who also served in the military, strongly believes that “there’s gonna be a change, and it’s coming and I’m gonna be here for that change.” The statement Uncle Redd pointed out is that social change is in the air, and it will have a powerful positive impact on society when it happens. It is also the kind of statement for someone who has lived through harrowing experiences of racism and lives to see the world that it is today and envisioning what the better life is astonishing to witness and hear.
While it can be difficult to learn about racism and how prior generations have had to deal with it, it is important for African American voices to be heard literately and figuratively. You can watch more of this exclusive interview below.