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Remembering Clara Luper

Oklahoma leaders react to death of prominent civil rights activist Clara Luper
FROM STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS Published: June 10, 2011


Remembering Clara Luper

Comments on the death of Oklahoma civil rights leader Clara Luper:

• Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb: “Our state has lost a wonderful person of conviction, passion, vision and love. Clara Luper personified the greatness of Oklahoma and made our state a better place to live.”

• U.S. Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City: “The courage of Clara Luper and her children provided the turning point in Oklahoma's race relations, through their dignified and principled stand against discrimination in 1958. A lifetime later, our culture has made great strides, but we still have much work to do to remove barriers that keep Americans from achieving their fullest potential. Today's generation can thank Clara Luper for many of the freedoms they experience today. Seldom is a teacher of American history also the subject of American history, but Mrs. Luper filled that unique role in Oklahoma classrooms, allowing her students to benefit from her experience and passion.”

• Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett: “Clara Luper was a great Oklahoman and a great American. Her peaceful, resolute sit-in protest at the Katz Drug Store, where the owners at the time refused to serve African-Americans, paved the way for equal rights in Oklahoma City. If that was the extent of her contribution to Oklahoma and the nation, it would have been accomplishment enough. But that act came early on and Clara dedicated the rest of her long and wonderful life to such basic human needs as dignity, honor and respect. … While her accomplishments are too many to list, her legacy is easily defined. She opened eyes and, in turn, opened hearts and minds.”

• Gwendolyn Fuller Mukes of Wichita, Kan., a student who participated in the 1958 Oklahoma City drugstore sit-ins: “She was our advocate. She was our staunchest supporter. I remember her being loving but firm. She made us secure. She was a great teacher all around. She was ahead of her time.”

• State Rep. Anastasia Pittman, D-Oklahoma City: “Oklahoma is on the map because of the service that she provided and because of the dedication she provided to young people. No service can come without sacrifice and her family has done a good job of lending her to us.”

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