Oklahoma civil rights icon Clara Luper dies at 88

June 9, 2011 - 7:57 AM

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma civil rights pioneer Clara Luper has died in Oklahoma City at age 88.

Luper's daughter, Marilyn Hildreth, says Luper died Wednesday night after a lengthy illness.

In August 1958, Luper led a group of three adult chaperones and 14 members of the Oklahoma City NAACP Youth Council in a sit-in at the Katz Drug Store lunch counter. The group was refused service but refused to leave.

The sit-in lasted several days before Katz agreed to integrate its lunch counters in Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas and Iowa. Over the next six years, the local NAACP group held sit-ins that desegregated virtually all eating establishments in Oklahoma City.

Luper is survived by two daughters and a son. Funeral services are pending.