Shout out to Clara Luper (1923-2011)—educator and pioneering civil rights activist.
On August 19, 1958, you led a group of children representing the Oklahoma City NAACP Youth Council into then-segregated Katz Drug Store in the heart of Oklahoma City. You refused to leave until you and your students were served at the lunch counter and racial segregation in city restaurants was resolved. Ultimately, you were served. Less than 48 hours later, corporate management for Katz desegregated all of its lunch counters in Oklahoma, Missouri, and other states.
Two years before Black college students audaciously began their non-violent sit-ins between Greensboro, North Carolina and Nashville, Tennessee, you bore the torch. You inspired Diane Nash and Dr. C.T Vivian and countless others who would go on to co-found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) that was ignited by action to segregate lunch counters across the South.
You were congenitally brave and incapable of experiencing fear. I’m entranced by your stance; and I speak of you reverentially. Because of your valor, I can walk into and purchase products from CVS Pharmacy—the retail corporation that later purchased Katz Drug Store.
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