News Article - 3 minute read

Sigma Mu Mu Chapter Attends Ghanaian Citizenship Ceremony of Tulsa Race Massacre Survivors

On February 28, 2023, Sigma Mu Mu Chapter, Third District of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., attended
the Ghanaian citizenship ceremony of the last two known survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.
Ms. Viola Fletcher (108 years old) and her brother, Mr. Hughes Van Ellis (102 years old), completed the
citizenship process and received their Ghanaian citizenship during a festive program at the Embassy of
Ghana in Washington, D.C. Brother Brian Johnson of Sigma Mu Mu witnessed the Queen Mother, as
Ms. Fletcher is affectionately known, and Uncle Red, as her brother is known, take an oath of allegiance,
sign Ghana citizenship certification documents, and thank those who made their United States/Ghana
dual citizenship possible. Brother Johnson’s sister, actress A.J. Johnson, received Ghanaian citizenship
last year and was also recognized during the program. Afterwards, Brother Johnson had the honor of
meeting Ms. Fletcher and Mr. Ellis when joining them for a photo op with other Ghana dignitaries,
including Mr. Akwasi Agyeman, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ghana Tourism Authority.
Given Ms. Fletcher’s and Mr. Ellis’ unique status in history, event planners purposely scheduled the
ceremony for Black History Month to celebrate their resilience, perseverance and symbolic return home
to Africa. Ms. Fletcher and Mr. Ellis were children when a White mob destroyed the Tulsa, OK all-Black
Greenwood neighborhood in which they lived, killing as many as 300 Black people and leaving
thousands more injured and/or homeless. In 2021, Queen Mother and Uncle Red traveled to Ghana for
the first time; this checked a Fletcher bucket list item to visit the Motherland before transitioning. The
trip was organized after centennial commemoration events in Tulsa. It was associated with the Ghana
president’s 2019 invitation to members of the African diaspora to visit Ghana to mark the “Year of
Return” commemorating 400 years since the first Africans arrived in Virginia. During their trip, Ms.
Fletcher and Mr. Ellis met Ghana’s president; he approved the process for granting them Ghanaian
citizenship and gave Queen Mother a plot of land in the capital, Accra.
The citizenship event morphed into an uplifting celebration, complete with African drummers, dancers
and songs. It concluded with a celebratory reception where Brother Johnson met Mr. Agyeman, CEO of
the Ghana Tourism Authority. He also met attorney Brother Damario Solomon-Simmons, the Founder,
Executive Director, and Chairman of the Board of The Justice for Greenwood Foundation, a grassroots
501c3 organization in Tulsa that fights for justice in the Greenwood community. The two Omega men
connected when Brother Johnson asked Brother Solomon-Simmons if his attire – black suit, white shirt,
and solid purple tie – had special significance; once the fraternal bond was confirmed, they immediately
embraced, exchanged contact information, and shared Ghana- as well as Omega-related experiences.
While the event was a joyous occasion and reason to celebrate, it was also a time to reflect on Black
history, including the Tulsa Race Massacre and survival of Ms. Viola Fletcher and Mr. Hughes Van Ellis.
Brother Johnson was honored to meet the two centenarian icons, proud to represent Sigma Mu Mu
Chapter at their historic Ghanaian citizenship ceremony, and inspired to visit Ghana in the future.