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Tulsa Race Massacre survivor dies; family carries on her legacy

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Family and friends said their last goodbyes to the last local living Tulsa Race Riot, or Race Massacre, survivor. (KTUL)

TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) -- Family and friends said their last goodbyes to the last local living Tulsa Race Riot, or Race Massacre, survivor.

Hazel Jones, 99, was strong-willed her entire life.

"Tough bird as she would call herself," Jones's grandson Earl Jones said.

She leaves behind a massive family that will carry on her stories and memories for many years to come.

"Nana was a teacher of sorts, she spent her time teaching us how to behave, teaching family to be close, teaching us how to cook," Jones's grandson Jerome Stevenson said.

Jones went to beauty college and later became a pastry chef for Tulsa Public Schools.

But behind those talents, she kept a secret.

"I had no idea that there was a personal connection there," Stevenson said.

Stevenson says he was nearly an adult when he learned his grandma was a survivor of the Race Massacre.

"She remembered there were white men that came and got them and took them to the fairground," he said.

Jones was only two years old when the violence erupted throughout the Greenwood District, injuring and killing dozens and destroying businesses and homes.

"One of the things that stuck out in her mind was the burning of the cross they saw, a lot of the screams she heard and many of the homes being burned," Earl Jones said.

Her family survived that tragedy, but she made sure everyone knew the truth.

The family has big shoes to fill, but they will carry on her legacy of advocating for a better life and community and putting an end toward spreading hate.

"It is never going to go away because it is in people's hearts, but we can make them not acceptable," Stevenson said.

Jones is believed to be the last Tulsa Race Massacre survivor still living in the area.

Two other survivors are believed to be alive and living in other states.


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