We've been following the story of two of the survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, Viola Fletcher, age 107 and her brother Hughes Van Ellis (Uncle Redd), age 100 during their return to Ghana, and yesterday they took part in an Official Naming Ceremony after The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Ghana Tourism Authority Beyond the Return, Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President and the Diaspora Africa Forum came together.

Dressed entirely in white, signifying the new beginning, the siblings were in attendance with some of their family members.


Attended by members of the diaspora and local community, the ceremony took place outside the Accra Tourist Information Centre in the presence of The Deputy Minister of Tourism Arts and Culture, Mark Okraku-Mantey, Deputy Director of Diaspora Affairs Office of the President, Nadia Adongo Musah, Chairperson of PANAFEST Foundation, Professor Esi Sutherland-Addy, Ambassador Nancy Sam, representatives of Ghana Tourism Authority and members of the African American Association of Ghana. 

Travelling despite severe health issues causing hospitalisation before their trip, Ambassador Bennett said “They both said the only way they would not come to Ghana is if they were in a coffin. And you see them here, so let’s give them a big standing ovation.”


Hugely significant for not just the siblings but for all people of African descent, Rabbi Kohain Halevi, executive director of the PANAFEST Foundation and board member of the Diaspora Africa Forum, spoke about the duo “The very fact that we are here on this occasion, that we have Mother Fletcher and Uncle Redd here that collectively combined represent 207 years of history and experience of our people on the other side in the diaspora and the ancestors have seen fit for them to cross that Atlantic Ocean with their family and come back over here, they have not come alone. They also have come with the ancestral spirits that crossed those waters. That sacrificed for years. That endured, they are the embodiment of the resilience of the African spirit.”

Mother Fletcher and Uncle Redd approached the podium for the naming ceremony, officiated by Osu Alata Mantse, Nii Kwabena Bonnie V. They received their names, Naa Lamiley for Mother Fletcher, and Nii Lante for Uncle Redd, before being given certificates, and libations were poured and prayers said. The rest of the delegation were also given their names and certificates.

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