7 December 2004
Oklahoma became a state in 1907, and almost immediately became a segregated state: Senate Bill One was the first of many Jim Crow laws which took entirely too long to repeal.
One of the tactics used to undermine Jim Crow was the sit-in, and one of the first places it was used effectively was Katz Drug Store in downtown Oklahoma City. It was 1958, and teacher Clara Luper brought her students into Katz' soda fountain for soft drinks: when said drinks were not forthcoming, Luper and the kids resolved to stay put. They got their drinks, but the aftermath wasn't pretty, and it took five or six years before every lunch counter in town, every restaurant, got the message.
The Freedom Center on Oklahoma City's Eastern Avenue, now Martin Luther King Avenue, will be presenting a play written by Luper: The Dred Scott Story, about the slave whose suit for freedom was eventually denied by the US Supreme Court.