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Clara Luper


Clara Luper was a Civil Rights Activist, civic leader,

Born in 1923 in rural Okfuskee County, Oklahoma, to Ezell and Isabell Shepard, Clara grew up and went to high school in the all-black town of Grayson, Oklahoma. She attended college at Langston University where in 1944 she received a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics and a minor in history. In 1950, Luper was one of the pivotal students who integrated the University of Oklahoma where she received her masterís in History Education in 1951.

Luper worked as a history teacher at Dunjee High School in east Oklahoma City when she became the advisor for the Oklahoma City National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Youth Council in 1957. The following year the Youth Council decided to stage a "sit-in" at Oklahoma City's Katz Drug Store. On August 20, 1958, the youth walked into the drugstore, ordered cokes and sat. Under Luper's guidance they demonstrated their discontent with segregation and launched the nation's sit-in movement.

Maintaining her adherence to nonviolence, Luper participated in marches and demonstrations and was often jailed in her civil rights struggle.

From 1960 to 1980 Luper hosted her own radio show and chronicled her fight for civil rights in her autobiography, Behold the Walls. She is alive and well today and resides in Oklahoma City.