Who was Hughes Van Ellis? Age, Wiki, Bio, Family, Career, Net Worth & More

Hughes Van Ellis was a Tulsa Race Massacre survivor and a WWII veteran who passed away at 102 on October 9, 2023. He was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1921 and witnessed the destruction of the Black Wall Street by a white mob when he was four months old. He served in the U.S. Army and fought for freedom and equality. He also sued for reparations and testified before Congress for the recognition of the massacre. He was a devout Christian and a loving stepfather. He married Martha Henderson in 1991 and lived in Denver, Colorado. He died of cancer at a veterans’ facility.

Hughes Van Ellis Biography Profile

NameHughes Van Ellis
Nick NameUncle Redd
Date of BirthJanuary 11, 1921
Birth PlaceTulsa, Oklahoma, USA
Age (as of 2023)102 years old (deceased)
Zodiac signCapricorn
ProfessionFarmer and activist
EthnicityBlack (African-American)
Home Town/StateDenver, Colorado
Educational QualificationN/A
HobbiesFarming, fishing, golfing
Marital StatusMarried twice
WifeMartha Henderson (m. 1991 – d. 2023)
ChildrenNone (stepfather to four children)
Net WorthN/A

Hughes Van Ellis Early Life and Education

Hughes Van Ellis was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to John Wesley Ellis and Louvenia Ellis. He was the youngest of six children and had three brothers and two sisters. He was four months old when he and his family survived the Tulsa Race Massacre, which occurred on May 31 and June 1, 1921. The massacre was a violent attack by a white mob on the prosperous Black neighborhood of Greenwood, also known as Black Wall Street. The mob killed hundreds of Black residents, burned down thousands of homes and businesses, and left thousands more homeless. Van Ellis and his family escaped the carnage and fled to a nearby town. They later returned to Tulsa and rebuilt their lives in Greenwood.

Van Ellis did not receive much formal education as a child. He worked on his family’s farm and helped his father with various odd jobs. He also learned how to fish and hunt from his older brothers. He developed a strong work ethic and a sense of resilience from his early experiences.

Hughes Van Ellis Family Details

Father NameJohn Wesley Ellis
Mother NameLouvenia Ellis
Brother(s)Three brothers: John Jr., James, and Robert Ellis
Sister(s)Two sisters: Viola Fletcher and Lessie Benningfield Randle
Wife/HusbandMartha Henderson (m. 1991 – d. 2023)
ChildrenNone (stepfather to four children)

Hughes Van Ellis Career Highlight

Hughes Van Ellis was a farmer and an activist who fought for justice and reparations for the survivors and descendants of the Tulsa Race Massacre. He served in the U.S. Army from 1942 to 1945 during World War II. He was assigned to the 477th Bombardment Group, an all-Black unit that faced racial discrimination and segregation in the military. He participated in the Freeman Field Mutiny, a protest against the unequal treatment of Black soldiers at an air base in Indiana in 1945. He received an honorable discharge after the war and returned to Tulsa.

Van Ellis continued to work as a farmer for most of his life. He also became involved in various social causes and movements, such as civil rights, voting rights, environmental justice, and anti-war activism. He joined the NAACP and supported the efforts of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Angela Davis, and other leaders. He also advocated for reparations for the Tulsa Race Massacre survivors and descendants, who never received any compensation or acknowledgment from the city or state authorities for the loss of lives and property caused by the massacre.

Van Ellis was one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in 2020 against the city of Tulsa, Tulsa County, the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce, and the state of Oklahoma for their role in the massacre and its cover-up. The lawsuit sought monetary damages, a public apology, a scholarship fund, a hospital for Greenwood residents, and other forms of restitution. Van Ellis also testified before Congress in May 2021, along with his sister Viola Fletcher and fellow survivor Lessie Benningfield Randle, to demand justice and recognition for the massacre. He said: “Please do not let me leave this earth without justice like all the other massacre survivors.”

Van Ellis died on October 9, 2023 at the age of 102 due to cancer at a veterans’ facility in Denver, Colorado. He was survived by his wife Martha Henderson, whom he married in 1991; his four stepchildren; his sister Viola Fletcher; his nine nieces and nephews; his nine grandnieces and grandnephews; and his seven great-grandnieces and great-grandnephews. He was buried at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver with full military honors.

Physical Stats and More

Height (Aprox.)in centimeters- 170 cm
Weight (Aprox.)in Kilograms- 70 kg
Body TypeAverage
Figure SizeN/A
Eye ColorBrown
Hair ColorBlack (graying)
Hair LengthShort
Shoe SizeN/A

Favorite Things

Favorite ThingsDetails
Favorite ColourGreen, black, red (African flag colors)
Favorite ActorDenzel Washington
Favorite ActressViola Davis
Favorite MoviesGlory, Hidden Figures
Favorite SingersMahalia Jackson, Ray Charles
Favorite FoodSoul food
Favorite BooksThe Autobiography of Malcolm X,
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
Favorite WearCasual and comfortable
Favorite AnimalDog
Favorite Things to DoFarming, fishing, golfing
Favorite SportsGolf, baseball
Favorite Sports PersonTiger Woods, Jackie Robinson
Favorite DestinationTulsa

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My name is Shivani Patel from Surat, Gujarat. I am the blogger, founder, and key owner of Lookout Info. I have been blogging for the last five years. I love to research and write biographies of great people.

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