Woody Guthrie Center to honor participants in Katz Drug Store sit-in

TULSA, Okla. – A civil rights activist who made headlines nearly 60 years ago will soon be receiving an award at the Woody Guthrie Center.

The 2018 Oklahoma Changing World Prize recognizes Oklahomans who fight for social justice.

Nearly 60 years a sit-in at Katz Drug Store, Clara Luper and the 13 youths who took part in the sit-in are being honored with the award.

In 1958, Luper led a group of black students to take a seat at the Katz Drug Store counter in Oklahoma City. The group asked for a soda and some hamburgers, but instead were taunted, jeered and threatened by other patrons.

They returned the next day and were again refused. On the third day of the protest, the staff relented and a large group was served. Their actions eventually played a role in the end of state-sanctioned segregation.

“The Woody Guthrie Center is incredibly proud to recognize the dignity, courage, and commitment of Clara Luper and her NAACP Youth Council with our 2018 Oklahoma Changing World Prize,” said Deana McCloud, executive director of the Woody Guthrie Center. “These Civil Rights activists led the change that our world so desperately needed and helped make America's promise of equality under the law a reality. As we approach the 60th anniversary of that first sit-in, we celebrate their integrity and their non-violent approach to ‘change the ways of this changing world.'"

On Oct. 11, the Woody Guthrie Center will honor Clara Luper, Marilyn Luper Hildreth, Calvin Luper, Richard Brown, Betty Germany, Portwood Williams Jr., Lynzetta Jones Carter, Gwendolyn Mukes, Linda Pogue, Ayanna Najuma, Dr. Barbara Posey Jones, Alma Faye Posey Washington, Areda Tolliver and Elmer Edwards.