The NAACP Youth and College Division Celebrates the Life of Clara Luper.
Posted on June 09, 2011 by Written By Kirin Kennedy Regional Field Fellow NAACP Youth and College Division
On Wednesday, June 8, 2011, NAACP activist Clara Luper passed away at her home in Oklahoma, she was 88. Mrs. Luper was a school educator that served as Advisor to the NAACP Oklahoma City Youth Council for over 50 years. Clara Luper’s legacy has shaped the work of young people across the country since the late 1950’s when she led 13 students in a series of sit-ins at Katz Drug Store lunch counters on Main Street in downtown Oklahoma City. Over three days, Mrs. Luper and the students endured physical attacks, threats and were covered in ketchup, hot grease and spit. By the end of the third day the group had successfully integrated the lunch counter at Katz when a member of the youth council was served a hamburger, prompting the integration of lunch counters throughout Oklahoma.
In addition to Mrs. Luper’s involvement with the NAACP she taught American History for 41 years in Oklahoma City Schools, ran for the U.S. Senate, became the first African American Vice President of the Oklahoma County Teachers Association and served as a consultant on school desegregation in Oklahoma City. Clara Luper is an icon in Oklahoma and well known across the country for her activism and giving a voice to young people in the civil rights movement. The NAACP Youth & College Division and the world has lost a giant and will forever be grateful for the dedicated service of Mrs. Clara Luper.