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Clara Luper to be remembered at Martin Luther King Jr. Day events

Oklahoma civil rights legend Clara Luper will be honored this year during Oklahoma City's Martin Luther King Jr. Day festivities, organizers said.
BY MATT PATTERSON Published: January 7, 2012

When William Jones thinks about this year's Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations in Oklahoma City, Clara Luper will be on his mind.

Jones has helped organize the parade for the past 10 years. One of his jobs is to make sure the floats are lined up correctly for the Jan. 16 parade. He's part shepherd, part traffic cop.

In addition to King's legacy, Luper's contributions to the Civil Rights Movement are important to remember, he said.

Luper, who died June 8 in Oklahoma City at the age of 88, led sit-in demonstrations at lunch counters in Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas and Iowa during the 1960s. She also served as an Oklahoma City NAACP Youth Council leader for 35 years. Her funeral drew 2,000 people.

Luper will be remembered this year during all the Martin Luther King Jr. Day events in Oklahoma City, organizers said.

“The day represents what she stood for, just like it does with MLK,” Jones said. “She was a woman who took action and advocated the same approach as he did.”

Fellow organizer Garland Pruitt, 68, will also be thinking about Luper on Jan. 16.

“Without a doubt she was someone who saw an opportunity to challenge a way of thinking and put forth a lot of effort to change it,” Pruitt said. “She made it her lifelong journey and that's been instilled in us.”

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MLK events

Jan. 16

• 7 a.m.: Prayer breakfast at Sheraton Hotel, 5800 Will Rogers Road, $10 per person.

• 9 a.m.: Silent march beginning at the Clara Luper NAACP Freedom Center, 2609 Martin Luther King Ave.

• 11 a.m.: Bell ringing at Oklahoma History Center, NE 23 and N Lincoln Boulevard.

• Noon: Holiday Coalition Program at St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral, 127 NW 7.

• 2 p.m.: The parade begins at Broadway and NW 7, proceeds down Broadway to Sheridan, then east through Bricktown to the Coca-Cola Bricktown Events Center. Grandstands are at NW 5 and Broadway.


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