In a somber announcement, the Diaspora African Forum (DAF) expresses deep sorrow over the transition of Mr. Hugh Van Ellis, affectionately known as Uncle Redd.

Mr. Van Ellis, a symbol of unwavering resilience and the importance of historical memory, passed away at the remarkable age of 102 on Monday, October 9th, 2023, at 11:30 a.m., at Denver Hospice in Denver, Colorado.

Uncle Redd’s life was marked by his survival of the Tulsa Race Massacre, a tragic event that unfolded between May 31 and June 1, 1921. During this dark chapter in history, white mobs unleashed violence upon Black residents, resulting in the destruction of homes and businesses in Tulsa’s Greenwood District.

This incident remains one of the most haunting instances of racial aggression in the annals of the United States, with over 35 square blocks of the thriving Black community, known as “Black Wall Street,” reduced to ruins.

In recognition of his monumental life and the profound connection between the African diaspora and their heritage, Mr. Van Ellis was granted Ghanaian citizenship. This prestigious honor was bestowed upon him during a historical visit organized by H.E. Dr. Erieka Bennett, Founder and Head of Mission for DAF, and Dr. Toni Luck in August 2021.

Reflecting on Uncle Redd’s enduring legacy, H.E. Erieka Bennett remarked, “Mr. Van Ellis’s existence illuminated the indomitable nature of the human spirit in the face of overwhelming adversity. Granting him honorary Ghanaian citizenship was a profound gesture of respect for his lasting impact.”

Speaking on behalf of the family, Ike, the grandson and family spokesperson, expressed, “The loss is immeasurable, and Uncle Redd’s spirit will remain with us forever.”

Rocky Dawuni, a prominent figure, shared his thoughts, stating, “Uncle Redd possessed a larger-than-life presence. Having survived the Tulsa Race Massacre and lived to the remarkable age of 102, his life and story have become an integral part of our collective struggle as a people.

His experiences offer us a unique insight into the enduring challenges faced by Black individuals, even today. Although he is no longer with us, I am filled with gratitude for the time I spent with him during his Ghanaian citizenship ceremony in Washington DC. I celebrate his legacy for this generation, recognizing that every day he was with us was a gift.”

Source: Diaspora News Guide


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