The book, “Don’t Let Them Bury My Story,” will offer readers a detailed, first-person account of the deadly attack, during which a racist white mob terrorized – and ultimately destroyed – a thriving enclave of Tulsa called Greenwood, though it was more widely known as “Black Wall Street.”
She told the Associated Press that she aims to both preserve this part of American history by sharing her story, and to encourage others to fight for justice – no matter how long it takes.
And, as she wrote in her memoir, she wants people to continue to ask, even though it’s more than 100 years later: “How could [anyone] just give a mob of violent, crazed, racist people a bunch of deadly weapons and allow them — no, encourage them — to go out and kill innocent Black folks and demolish a whole community?”
Fletcher’s account does not shy away from the horrors of the incident, which was the culmination of mounting racial tension following a news report about a 19-year-old Black boy allegedly assaulting a 17-year-old white girl. She describes, in difficult detail, the “piles of dead bodies heaped in the streets” she saw as she and her family fled in a horse-drawn buggy – among other horrors.
She recounts how “some of them had their eyes open, as though they were still alive.”
Some estimates say as many as 300 people lost their lives that day. Over 35 city blocks were destroyed by the mob, taking out almost 200 Black-owned businesses. And about 10,000 Black residents, like Fletcher, were displaced.
Fletcher has been speaking on the subject for years. In 2021, on the 100th anniversary of the massacre, she testified before Congress about the need for reparations. And last year, she and two other survivors began what is a still-ongoing campaign to sue the city of Tulsa for damages from the attack. The suit alleges that Tulsa authorities allowed the violence to occur, making them liable for the resulting carnage.
During an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America about the case, Fletcher said that such efforts are about one thing: doing “whatever it takes to replace our loss.”
Fletcher’s memoir will be available for purchase on Aug. 15.