OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – It’s been 64 years since Clara Luper and the Oklahoma City NAACP Youth Council sat down at the Katz drugstore counter and initiated one of the first civil rights protests in the country.

On Aug. 19, 1958, Luper and 13 of her students staged a sit-in at the metro drugstore – two years before the famous sit-ins in North Carolina.

Courtesy: Oklahoma Historical Society

The Youth Council continued to conduct sit-ins throughout the early 1960s, helping to end segregation in public accommodations in Oklahoma.

Group of protestors, including Clara Luper, link arms at segregation protest
Daily Oklahoman, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, March 31, 1964 – Courtesy: Oklahoma Historical Society

Luper was arrested 26 times and is considered a major leader in the Sooner State’s integration fight.

In recent years, Luper and the Katz sit-in have been honored with several events and memorials for their significance in US Civil Rights history.

A major renovation of the historic Freedom Center of Oklahoma City is now underway.

The post office at N.W. 5th and Harvey was dedicated as the Clara Luper Post Office in Aug. 2021.

The Freedom Fiesta will be held Aug. 18 – 21 with several events to honor the sit-ins.