July 28, 2020
Clara Luper Legacy Committee and Oklahoma Historical Society to Celebrate 62nd Anniversary of the Oklahoma City Sit-Ins
OKLAHOMA CITY — On Wednesday, August 19, at 6:30 p.m. the Clara Luper Legacy Committee will present a virtual program celebrating the 62nd anniversary of the beginning of the Oklahoma City sit-in movement on its website, www.claraluperlegacy.com. For the last two years the committee has held a celebration at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic this year’s event will be shared online.
The speakers at this commemoration will include Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt, Marilyn Luper Hildreth, Dr. Bob Blackburn, Jabee Williams, Reverend J. A. Reed, Larry Jeffries, Reverend Dr. Lee E. Cooper and Gwenda Roberts, with Joyce Jackson, editor and publisher of SHADES magazine, as the moderator. The keynote speaker will be former NAACP National Youth Council Director Reverend Amos Brown. He is also the pastor of Third Baptist Church in San Francisco, California. As part of the event, viewers will be given a virtual tour of the Clara Luper exhibit at the Oklahoma History Center by Bruce Fisher, historian and curator of the exhibit.
The Clara Luper Legacy Committee and the Oklahoma Historical Society would like to recognize those who participated in Clara Luper’s sit-ins in Oklahoma and document their experiences. If you participated in one of these protests, please complete the registration form at www.claraluperlegacy.com/registration. If you have questions about the virtual event or about how to document your experiences during the sit-ins, please visit the contact page at www.claraluperlegacy.com/contact.
On August 19, 1958, two years prior to the famous sit-ins in Greensboro, North Carolina, members of the Oklahoma City NAACP Youth Council staged a protest at Katz Drug Store in downtown Oklahoma City. Through their persistence these 13 children began the integration of restaurants in Oklahoma City. Mrs. Luper and her students continued to hold sit-ins throughout Oklahoma into the 1960s.
The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma and its people. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma. For more information about the OHS, please visit www.okhistory.org.