Documentary: When Oklahoma children changed civil rights history

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OKLAHOMA CITY - On Monday, people across the country honored Martin Luther King, Jr., remembering his legacy and movement that made some of the most progressive changes in centuries.

While many eyes were on him during the Civil Rights movement, a group of children were fighting for change right here in Oklahoma and now their story is coming to the surface more than 50 years later, through film.

It was August 19, 1958 when a group of children in Oklahoma City walked into Katz Drugstore, sat down at the lunch counter and asked for service.

"All for dignity and pride and a chance, desire, an innate desire to be free," said Marilyn Luper Hildreth.

One of the children was Clara Luper’s daughter, Marilyn.

Clara Luper was a civil rights icon in our state. Her daughter was just 8-years-old at the time.

"When the 13 young people sat down here in the state of Oklahoma, young people from all over the United States started standing up and sit-ins spread like wildfire throughout this entire nation," said Marilyn Luper-Hildreth.

Now, a documentary directed by Oklahoman Julia Clifford called, "Children of the Civil Rights," is reliving history. It catches up with those kids, who were inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr.,  50 years later.

"There are so many ways to make change nonviolently and today more than ever, we need that message," said Clifford.

"I'm not better than anybody but just as good as anybody," said Ayanna Najuma.

Ayanna Najuma was 7-years-old during the sit-ins.

She said no matter what age, anyone can make a difference.

"What I want people to know is in spite of the fact we're in 2016 and have all of these challenges impacting society, that your voice is important and the things you do in your community to make a difference are important," said Najuma.

"I feel good on the inside because I know that I was part of history that helped start changing the course of American history," said Luper-Hildreth.

There will be a showing of “Children of the Civil Rights” documentary on March 19th at the Museum of Art Film Theater.

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