Play To Focus On Tulsa Race Massacre Through Eyes Of Survivors
TULSA, Oklahoma - A play premiering tonight will focus on the Tulsa Race Riot -- also known as the Race Massacre -- through the eyes of one of the last known survivors.
The play is called "The Resurrection of Black Wall Street" and it's based on what 104-year-old Lessie Benningfield Randle still remembers from that 1921 massacre.
LaDonna Penny says she knew her grandmother, Miss Lessie, saw the race riot but it was not something they talked about growing up. That changed right after Thanksgiving when she asked her grandmother questions over dinner.
"Did you see any of the rioting? Any of the shootings and she said yes. She said there were bodies on the ground, they were stacking the bodies on the ground," said LaDonna Penny.
Penny recorded that conversation and told Rebecca Marks-Jimerson, who said Miss Lessie's story needed to be told.
Rebecca Marks-Jimerson, one of the writers, said, "We have the almost forgotten race massacre survivor that no one knew because she was living this humble life."
"I was shocked," Penny said. "I never thought it would go this far. I was just doing a video just to keep."
Marks-Jimerson teamed up with Henry Primeaux to write the play and it will premiere at the PAC Friday night.
Penny says her grandmother is still in shock that people want to hear her story. "When I told her about it, she just cried because she just thinks 'little old me? Why does anyone think that I'm important? I'm just a person.'"
If you can't make tonight's show, there are performances of "The Resurrection of Black Wall Street" on Saturday and Sunday as well.
Get information about tickets here.