For the second year in a row, the Oklahoma Heritage Association has inducted a person to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame whose honor was long overdue.
Last year, Okemah’s legendary folksinger Woody Guthrie received his spot among the state’s greats. This year, Luper will take her place, along with seven other inductees in November.
Her story and struggle for equal rights in Oklahoma make her a clear choice for the honor.
The leader of the nation’s first publicized sit-in in August of 1958, Luper, a history teacher at DunjeeHigh School, organized a group of students to not give up their seats at the Katz Drug Store lunch counter in Oklahoma City. It sparked sit-ins and demonstrations throughout the country.
Luper was arrested 26 times for her civil rights activities, which resulted in the Oklahoma City Council passing an ordinance ending discrimination before the 1964 Civil Rights Act. She also helped end segregation in Oklahoma City schools.
Along with Luper, the class of 2007 includes Clayton I. Bennett, Jane Jayroe Gamble, Toby Keith, David Kyle, Aubrey K. McClendon, Choctaw Nation Chief Gregory E. Pyle and Linda K. Twine.