Each year, Soulful Story promotes the stories of African Americans who have contributed to the history of Oklahoma. This year marks the 10th annual Soulful Story, and will be the first to include a film and panel discussion.

The 2020 Soulful Story features the Clara Luper Legacy Committee with a screening of the documentary film “Children of the Civil Rights” and includes a discussion panel with individuals who participated in the Oklahoma City and Lawton sit-ins.

Soulful Story is co-sponsored by the Friends of the Lawton Public Library, Lawton Public Library, and event committee members from various civic groups in our community.

Clara Luper was an instrumental figure in the Oklahoma Civil Rights movement. Luper became the adviser for the Oklahoma City NAACP Youth Council in 1957 while working as a history teacher in Spencer, OK. She wrote a play entitled Brother President about Martin Luther King Jr. and his nonviolent philosophy.

In 1958 Luper, along with the NAACP Youth Council members, were invited to bring the performance to New York City. The trip exposed the Youth Council to places where segregation did not thrive. After experiencing what equality provides, the students voted to initiate a campaign to end segregation in Oklahoma City.

From 1958 to 1964, Luper mentored the members during their campaign to end segregation of public accommodations through sit-ins, protests and boycotts.

Clara Luper was born in 1923 and passed away in 2011.

The film, produced by Julia Clifford of Clifford Creations, tells the story of Luper and the youth who participated in these non-violent protests. After the film, participants will learn more about how Lawton was impacted by these demonstrations. The most documented protest was at Doe Doe Park, an amusement park. Most of the sit-ins at this business occurred in 1961.

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