The Clara Luper Legacy Committee and the Oklahoma Historical Society will host a virtual event Wednesday, Aug. 19 to celebrate the 62nd anniversary of one of the first sit-ins in the country during the civil rights movement in Oklahoma City.
The event will start at 6:30 p.m. and will feature speakers such as Luper’s daughter Marilyn Luper Hildreth, OKC Mayor David Holt and former NAACP National Youth Council Director Reverend Amos Brown, who is the keynote speaker. Musical performances will also take place from artists like Jabee Williams and Jahruba Lambeth.
Viewers will also be given a virtual tour of the Clara Luper exhibit at the Oklahoma History Center.
Editor and Publisher of SHADES magazine Joyce Jackson will moderate the event. In light of recent the Black Lives Matter protests and marches, Jackson said this event is a reminder of the history of the sit-in movement in OKC.
“We want people to understand that Oklahoma has a very rich African American history, and Mrs. Luper is considered like the godmother of the civil rights movement,” Jackson said.
On Aug. 19, 1958, Luper, who was an activist and high school teacher, led 13 children from the NAACP Youth Council to begin sit-ins to desegregate lunch counters at Katz Drug Store in OKC. Luper and her students continued to hold sit-ins throughout Oklahoma into the 1960s.
This was two years prior to the famous sit-ins in Greensboro, North Carolina and helped start a flood of sit in movements and protests across the country.
Jackson said almost everyone who is on the agenda for the anniversary event is connected in some way to the OKC sit-in movement.
The Clara Luper Legacy Committee and the Oklahoma Historical Society encourage people who participated in these sit-ins or protests in Oklahoma to fill out a registration form to document their experience.
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