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#FeaturedFour: OU Desegregation, Painting Lawsuit; Unaccompanied Minors; ‘Banning The Box’

Left to right: Amos T Hall, resident counsel for the NAACP; Sipuel Fisher; NAACP attorney (and later Supreme Court Justice) Thurgood Marshall; H.W. Williamston, president of the Oklahoma NAACP.
Western History Collections
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University of Oklahoma
Left to right: Amos T Hall, resident counsel for the NAACP; Sipuel Fisher; NAACP attorney (and later Supreme Court Justice) Thurgood Marshall; H.W. Williamston, president of the Oklahoma NAACP.

Four stories that were trending or generated discussion online or on KGOU’s social media platforms during the past week.

Every February, the nation stops to reflect on the Civil Rights Movement and African-American culture during Black History Month. 2016 also marks 70 years since a Langston University graduate walked into the office of University of Oklahoma president George Lynn Cross, hoping to attend law school and break down OU’s color barrier.
Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher wasn’t the first African-American to attend the school – that honor went to education doctoral candidate George McLaurin – but her Supreme Court challenge set legal precedent that eventually helped overturn the doctrine of “separate-but-equal.”

Reader Bobbie Conklin Gonzalez writes: "Luis & I were both there at OU when she came. I was assistant manager in the cafeteria where she had a table off in the corner to eat alone. Sad!"

Bergère rentrant des moutons (Shepherdess Bringing in Sheep), 1886? Oil on canvas, ?18 1/4 x 15 in.
Credit Camille Pissarro (?France, 1830-1903) / Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art; The University of Oklahoma, Norman Aaron M. and Clara Weitzenhoffer Bequest, 2000
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Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art; The University of Oklahoma, Norman Aaron M. and Clara Weitzenhoffer Bequest, 2000
Bergère rentrant des moutons (Shepherdess Bringing in Sheep), 1886? Oil on canvas, ?18 1/4 x 15 in.

After a three-year legal battle, a woman whose family saw its art collection plundered by the Third Reich during World War II and the University of Oklahoma reached a settlement over a disputed 1886 painting.
Oklahoma’s Weitzenhoffer family bought the Camille Pissaro work Shepherdess Bringing in Sheep in good faith from a New York gallery in the 1950s, and later donated it to the University of Oklahoma along with more than two dozen other French Impressionist works. The family of Léone Meyer filed a lawsuit in 2013 to recover the portrait, and a formal settlement was signed Monday.

Both sides publicly said they were happy with the resolution, which transfers 100 percent of the title to Meyer and allows the painting to be displayed publicly in both Oklahoma and France on a rotating basis.

Reader Ellen Smith Swanson writes: “About time! Not one of [University of Oklahoma president David Boren’s] finest moments!”

Lori Navarro teaches English as a second language at a high school in Liberal, Kansas. She says she has had several unaccompanied minors in her classroom.
Credit Esther Honig / Harvest Public Media
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Harvest Public Media
Lori Navarro teaches English as a second language at a high school in Liberal, Kansas. She says she has had several unaccompanied minors in her classroom.

In a rural community in western Kansas, many young immigrants who came to this country without parents or guardians struggle for security. They work all night, go to school during the day, sleep little, and then they’re back at work the next day.
Harvest Public Media’s Esther Honig says many of these immigrants work in meatpacking communities like Liberal, Kansas or Guymon, Oklahoma. They’re designated “unaccompanied alien children” by the federal government and can remain in the country until their immigration status hearing.

Credit Kathryn Decker / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
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Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

As part of a sweeping proposal to overhaul Oklahoma’s criminal justice system, Gov. Mary Fallin issued an executive order this week to remove the question about felony convictions from state job applications.
State Rep. Pam Peterson, R-Tulsa, applauded the move, and said it would help reintegrate people into society. But the move doesn’t prevent hiring managers from asking about felony convictions during job interviews, or affect current background checks.

That’s a look at four stories that audiences appreciated on KGOU’s social media and online platforms this week. We’re always interested in your comments, feel free to write to us at news@kgou.org.

KGOU is a community-supported news organization and relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online, or by contacting our Membership department.

Brian Hardzinski is from Flower Mound, Texas and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He began his career at KGOU as a student intern, joining KGOU full time in 2009 as Operations and Public Service Announcement Director. He began regularly hosting Morning Edition in 2014, and became the station's first Digital News Editor in 2015-16. Brian’s work at KGOU has been honored by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters, and local and regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. Brian enjoys competing in triathlons, distance running, playing tennis, and entertaining his rambunctious Boston Terrier, Bucky.
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