OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — A special honor took place in downtown Oklahoma City on Saturday morning.
The post office at N.W. 5th and Harvey has a new name, the Clara Luper Post Office, dedicated to a woman who spent her life fighting for justice and racial equality right here in Oklahoma City.
“Clara Luper was a civil rights icon in Oklahoma. She was also an educator. She sponsored youth councils. She just dedicated her life to gender and racial equality,” said Becky Hernandez, USPS spokesperson.
Back in 1958, Luper and 13 of her students went to Katz Drug Store in downtown Oklahoma City to stage a sit-in, happening two years before the famous sit-ins in North Carolina.
Luper was arrested 26 times and was considered a major leader in the fight to end segregation in Oklahoma.
Now she is not only the first person honored with a postal dedication in OKC, but also the first female in the entire state with that honor.
And before all of this could happen–
“It has to go through legislation,” Hernandez said.
Former Congresswoman Kendra Horn wrote the measure to change the name of the post office and it was signed into law in January of this year.
Family members and Oklahoma legislators were on hand to celebrate as this plaque was unveiled.
“Her name will be on here forever,” Hernandez said.
“I stand here today as proud as I’ve ever been in my life,” said Marilyn Hildreth, Clara Luper’s daughter.
Hildreth sharing words of encouragement and gratitude.
“Who would have thought that we would stand here on this hallowed ground? Whereas the mayor said ‘hatred and bitterness destroyed part of our city.’ It knocked us down but thank God Oklahoma City, we did not stay down,” Hildreth said.
The anniversary of the Katz Drug Story sit-in was August 19th.