” … Bill Clifford, father of the documentary’s producer, said in reflections shared with CapitolBeatOK that when his daughter was educated, “Her Oklahoma history and social studies classes never mentioned the sit-ins in Oklahoma City, what caused them or their importance to the following generations. She only heard about this part of our history many years after graduation, informally, over a cup of coffee. It simply wasn’t included as part of the standard educational curriculum. …
Julia’s curiosity led her to explore this part of Oklahoma City’s past on her own. In the process she met with and interviewed people who were personally involved in this effort – the young Black kids who demonstrated, members of the Oklahoma City downtown police detachment responsible for the public safety of all concerned and the news people who covered their stories.
Her journey enabled her to compare the Oklahoma City experience with race relations in Birmingham, Atlanta and Selma through film footage and personal interviews with Julian Bond and Congressman John Lewis.”
Here in Oklahoma, some of the most impactful steps for civil rights were guided by the late Clara Luper, a feisty and effective activist known for combining blunt and pointed commentary with a notable ability to touch the hearts of powerful white leaders here in Oklahoma City.
… Over six years, things changed slowly. Organizers of the new documentary said, in the essay provided to CapitolBeatOK, “It’s important to understand that the persistence and dignity shown by the kids in the Oklahoma City Civil Rights movement added to [a] spirit of collaboration, mutual respect and dialogue between this community and its police force.
This is highly relevant to our national struggle of today.”
Lt. I.G. Purser of the city police department had a relationship of “communication and mutual respect” with Mrs. Luper, the NAACP youth advisor. Ultimately in the 1960s, after the Katz drugstore downtown ceased segregationist policies at the lunch counters, regular service was offered regardless of race to customers at the city’s lunch counters. …”
Check out Patrick’s full article!