A Luper Honor

Horn’s Bill to Rename Downtown Post Office

U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn authored a bill that would rename the downtown post office for Clara Shepard Luper, the civil rights leader.

WASHINGTON—A bill that would rename a post office in downtown Oklahoma City for civil rights leader Clara Shepard Luper easily passed the U.S. House of Representatives.

Authored by U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn (Dem., Okla.), the bill was co-sponsored by all five of the Oklahoma delegation to the U.S. House.

The bill passed by a voice vote and would rename the post office at 305 NW Fifth St. in downtown Oklahoma City the Clara Luper Post Office Building.

Mrs. Luper, who died in 2011, a history schoolteacher and leader of the local NAACP Youth Council, led the Sit-In Movement in Oklahoma City that resulted in the desegregation of eating establishments and other facilities.

It was not clear whether the bill would be taken up by the U.S. Senate this year.

“We have come a long way because of the sacrifices of Clara Luper and those who stood with her in the Civil Rights Movement,” U.S. Rep. Horn said Monday during consideration of the measure.

U.S. Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (Dem., N.Y.) said, “Clara Luper made her mark at a time when people of color could not even walk through the front door of Oklahoma City businesses. 

“She had a vision for equality, a heart for service and a commitment to justice.  She knew that Oklahoma and this country could be a place where everyone is treated with respect, dignity and humanity.”

Mrs. Luper organized a sit-in at the Katz Drug Store in 1958 to protest its refusal to serve Black people.

Congresswoman Maloney said Monday that Mrs. Luper integrated the history department at the University of Oklahoma by becoming its first Black graduate of the master’s program.

Mrs. Luper was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.

The MAPS 4 projects approved by Oklahoma City voters last year include a civil rights museum to be named for Mrs. Luper.

“Though verbally and physically assaulted, they persisted, sitting in peaceful protest,” Congresswoman Horn said on Monday, speaking about the Katz sit-in participants.

“Their fearlessness and determination resulted in Katz integrating lunch counters not just in Oklahoma City, but also in Missouri, Kansas and Iowa.”

U.S. Rep. Horn said Mrs. Luper and the students who participated in the sit-ins were now “inspiring a new generation of Oklahomans to take action through peaceful protests, to challenge injustice and systemic racism.”

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