Race Riot Survivor Laid To Rest At 99
TULSA, Oklahoma - One of the last known survivors of the Tulsa Race Riot was laid to rest Saturday.
99-year-old Hazel Smith-Jones is believed to be the last survivor who was living in Oklahoma.
A procession went through the historic Greenwood district before her funeral services.
Family and friends of Hazel Smith-Jones celebrated her life at North Peoria Church of Christ, where she was a member since 1961.
Children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and friends each carry the history 99-year-old Hazel Smith-Jones left with them.
She had 12 brothers and sisters.
"I miss her," said Sister Erma Thompson.
Erma was the youngest.
"We all played in the yard. It wasn't very big, but we had fun," Erma said.
Born in 1919, Hazel was just a toddler during the Tulsa Race Riot.
"Just the screams were mainly the things that kinda stuck out in her mind along with the cross being burned," said Grandson Earl Jones
She later worked as a welder in California during World War II.
She cooked for Tulsa Public Schools and traveled around the country for cooking conventions.
Her passion for food won't be forgotten.
"Barbeque. She liked barbeque ribs and she loved greens. Greens and cornbread. You could walk down the street, she smelled one of the neighbors cooking greens. She had to have some," said her sister Erma.
But more importantly, her stories about the race riot won't be forgotten either.
"She told me a lot of things about what she knew," said Erma.
"Her thought was, you're going to need to make sure that this is not forgotten. And too, that you move forward and build from it to make something positive out of it," said Grandson W. Jerome Stevenson.
Her family said Hazel was known to say, "God is good to me. Without Him, I never would have made it."