NAACP Honors Mrs. Clara Shephard Luper, Leader of the NAACP Youth Council's "Sit-Down" Movement
WHEREAS, this year the NAACP celebrates 75 years of loyal dedicated service by our national Youth and College Division; and
WHEREAS, one of the better known and more effective advisors of an NAACP Youth and College Chapter was Clara Shepard Luper, a high school teacher who advised and mentored members of the Oklahoma City NAACP Youth Council from 1957 through 1964; and
WHEREAS, the report of the NAACP National Youth Work Committee dated July 13-19, 1959 reads:
"We can all be justifiably proud of the tremendous gains made by our Youth and College Division during the past year. During this period several NAACP youth councils conducted a series of "sit-down" protests against continued segregation of Negro customers in places of public accommodation such as restaurants, soda fountains, skating rinks, and drug and department stores. The dramatic nature of these protests coupled with the smashing victories scored by our youth in opening doors previously closed, served to emphasize to the American people that Negros - young and old - will no longer tolerate, nor accept, second class citizenship. Youth councils participating in these protests received national and international attention - and acclaim for their efforts. Reports of the Oklahoma City protest, which was by far the most successful with 51 stores capitulating to the council's efforts, were carried in almost every major publication and newspaper including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, the Times of London, Times of New Delhi, Times of Tokyo, Life, Look and even U.S. News and World Report. The protests served further to indicate some of the very important roles which youth can play in helping to eliminate segregation and discrimination. As a result of these efforts the Youth Division was, for the first time, recognized by a large segment of the nation's press as being as important and integral part of the association's work. Credit for these outstanding achievements must be given to the officer's members, and of course, those wonderful adult advisors to the councils involved in these actions. It is most fitting and proper at this time that we pay tribute to the leaders of those youth councils which participated in the "sit-down" protests. They are: (1) Oklahoma City, Barbara Posey, youth, Mrs. Clara Luper, adult advisor;" and
WHEREAS, Mrs. Clara Shepard Luper, known to many as the "Mother of the Oklahoma Civil Rights Movement", passed away on June 8, 2011; and
WHEREAS, Mrs. Luper and the NAACP Oklahoma City youth Council became an agent of change for civil and human rights on the morning of August 19, 1958 by staging their first "Sit Down" at Oklahoma City's Katz Drug Store; and
WHEREAS, the Youth Council Members, working under Mrs. Luper's guidance, walked into the store to order soft drinks and when they were refused service started to demonstrate their discontent with segregation by launching what is now known throughout the world as the beginning of the nation's "Sit-down" movement; and
WHEREAS, when the NAACP recognized Mrs. Luper for her achievement in 1959, the official convention notes of the NAACP indicate that at least one of the founders of the sit-ins that began later in North Carolina, who we applaud for their courage, commitment and dedication was present, as confirmed by the Library of Congress records, and that the Oklahoma City sit-ins were an inspiration for the sit-ins movements in North Carolina that started in 1960.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the delegates meeting during the 102nd NAACP Annual convention, in recognition of the 75 years of service from the Youth and College Division herby pay tribute and honor one of the Youth and College Division's leaders, Mrs. Clara Shepard Luper, leader of the "Sit-Down" movement; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP National Board of Directors shall work with the NAACP Youth and College Division to develop an annual award honoring Mrs. Clara Shepard Luper to be given on an on-going basis to recognize an outstanding Youth and College Division Advisor.