Clara Luper's children share memories of their mother
Luper considered everything that was good as a reason to celebrate
Clara Luper, notebook in hand, would sit on the front row to listen to her children deliver a speech.
If at any point, the child filled the air with “uh,” her pencil whisked a checkmark.
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Jun 17Service for Clara Luper at Cox center. Speakers Gov...
Jun 15Chelle Luper Wilson, daughter of the late Clara Luper...
Jun 15Harold Green, son of the late Clara Luper, remembers what...
Jun 15Marilyn Hildreth, daughter of the late Clara Luper,...
Jun 9Bruce Fisher from the Oklahoma History Center reflects on...
Jun 9Long-time civil rights leader Clara Luper died Wednesday,...
Aug 23Participants walk through northeast Oklahoma City in the...
Aug 18Clara Luper talks about the circumstances surrounding the...
Aug 17I.G. Purser, who as a lieutenant was assigned to oversee...
Aug 17Civil rights leader kicked off a week-long celebration in...
Aug 16Oklahoman reporter Devona Walker talks with Bruce Fisher...
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Feb 22The Oklahoman looks at the life of Civil Rights leader...
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Luper to lie in repose
The body of Oklahoma City civil rights leader and educator Clara Luper will lie in repose Thursday at the state Capitol, 2300 N Lincoln Blvd. The public may pay their respects from noon to 4 p.m.
Once home, daughter Marilyn Hildreth recalls, “You would go before the board of education, and become well-educated.”
And your tongue better be the only thing in your mouth when talking in public. Son Harold Green returned one time from speaking in Tulsa, to “What about that gum you had?”
“That was a board of education call,” he said.
The “Clara Luper board of education” was the reason son Calvin Luper didn't get in trouble at school. If he had, the teacher would call his mother and “I knew the board was there, and I didn't want it to be in the ready position when I got home.”
Chelle Luper Wilson, the youngest of Clara Luper's children, was good and didn't have to go before the board very often. Nonetheless she would hide it. “It seems like when I did, someone at the high school woodshop would make her one bigger than the one I'd hid.”
Wednesday, Hildreth, of Oklahoma City sat on L-shaped couch in her mother's home with her brothers Calvin Luper, of Oklahoma City, and Harold Green, of San Diego, as well as her sister Chelle Luper Wilson, of Crossroads, Texas, to her left.
They spoke of a mother who disciplined only to train. They spoke of a mother of compassion. They spoke of a mother of celebration.
While the nation remembers Clara Luper, the civil rights leader who died June 8, they lovingly remembered “mama.”
Luper instilled the importance of self-respect. Besides proper enunciation, the NAACP's Youth Council that met at Luper's home made sure that each participant of the sit-ins wore clean clothes that were ironed.
These were signs of confidence.
Hildreth said if proof is needed that her mother's way worked, consider those planning to attend the funeral Friday.
There will be 12 of the 13 original participants of the 1958 sit-in at the Katz Drug Store in downtown Oklahoma City.
There will be the woman who owns four fast-food franchises, a woman who works for a U.S. senator, and a man who practices international law in Saipan.
“As a result of being disciplined, she was able to train young people to do almost anything,” Marilyn said. “She would tell us, anything that you can dream, you can achieve.”
Always a teacher
Every circumstance was an opportunity to teach, as Marilyn, Calvin and Harold learned at the dinner table one evening.
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