Woman shares great-grandmother’s story of survival following the Tulsa Race Massacre

A descendent of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre has a close connection to a survivor of the tragic event.

FOX23 recently spoke with Anneliese Bruner. She is the great-granddaughter of a woman who survived the massacre. However, she never knew that her great-grandmother survived the massacre until her father shared a cloth-bound book with her.

The book was written by Mary E. Jones Parrish. It detailed her story of survival. Mary described the horror, that “prosperous Tulsa was in the thrall of a great disaster.”

“It descended on me like a ton of bricks. I was speechless, and I couldn’t believe it. And I couldn’t believe that throughout the book, I was looking back into history,” said Bruner.

The book is a first-hand account of Mary and her 7-year-old daughter Florence’s escape from the destruction. Florence passed away and never told her granddaughter Anneliese about what happened in 1921.

Mary described the beginning of the massacre. “On the evening of May 31st, my little girl said, ‘mother, I see men with guns.’ When it dawned on me what was really happening, I took my little girl in my arms, read one or two chapters of Psalms of David and prayed that God would give me courage to stand through it all.”

Mary’s home burned during the massacre. Afterwards, Mary went on to have a successful teaching career at Langston University.

After reading her great-grandmother’s book, Bruner changed her career path and started writing.

Mary’s book “The Nation Must Awake” was recently re-released. Anneliese wrote the afterward.

“We’ve really got to understand how serious this is. We’ve got to get a grip on it. That’s why it’s titled The Nation Must Awake.”