Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Clara Luper and the 50th Anniversary of the Katz Sit-In

On the first day of school, while sitting in my Oklahoma History class, the teacher announced to the class, "My name is Clara Luper, I've been arrested 26 times and everything you've read about me is true."

This was not the normal teacher introduction I was used to hearing. I'd only been in Oklahoma since the 7th grade and my normal reading material in the newspaper consisted of the sports section and the comics. When I had dinner that evening and my parents asked me how school went, I had something different to talk about.

In my junior year, I had Mrs. Luper for Human Relations. What I remember most about her teaching was she instilled a sense of self-worth and dignity in her students and I will always thank her for her caring about me in that manner.

Yesterday I attended the ceremony at the Oklahoma History Center honoring Mrs. Luper and the kids, now adults, who participated in the Katz Drug Store sit-ins. It took tremendous courage, for all of those involved, to work for social justice. We were told both white and black people, for different reasons, were against the action, but these people persevered and changed the course of Oklahoma History. (Related Stories- 1 Slide Show OK Editorial Ch9 Story and Video Links Washington Times)

Having a teacher who not only taught history, but was part of a defining moment of our state's history, was a great opportunity for me as a student.

Thank you Mrs. Luper.

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