clara luper (May 3, 1923 – June 8, 2011)

Read about Clara Luper’s life here

January 2009NewsOK: Clara Luper clapped and let out a cheer as Barack Obama finished taking the oath of office and became president of the U.S.

The graying matron of Oklahoma City’s civil rights movement was surrounded by about two dozen people at the Freedom Center, 2500 Martin Luther King, for an inauguration watch party.

Though her health has dwindled in recent years, Luper said she never doubted she’d see a black president in her lifetime.

“I hadn’t planned on dying until I saw this day,” she said. “If I die now, I’m OK.”

On the walls of the center, large pictures hung showing Obama and Martin Luther King Jr. Other pictures showed black children staging a sit-in at a lunch counter and Luper being led away from a protest by police.

Luper said the struggles of those days never got her down because she knew today would eventually come. “I came from a family of believers,” Luper said. “We believed in the sun when it didn’t shine. We believed in the rain when it didn’t fall.”

Benetta Williams, Luper’s caretaker, said Obama’s election has re-invigorated the 85-year-old, who organized sit-ins to protest segregation in Oklahoma City beginning in 1958. She was invited to the inauguration, but could not attend because of her health.

“Ms. Luper cannot stand by herself,” Williams said. “The night that Obama was elected, she stood. She got up for the first time in two years and stood by herself.”

Watching Luper as she sat in front of a 12-inch TV and listened to Obama’s speech Tuesday, Williams said she was struck by how much Luper gave for this moment.

“Tears just streamed down my face as I looked at her,” Williams said.

30 Responses to “clara luper (May 3, 1923 – June 8, 2011)”

  1. 1 Fred
    June 9, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    RIP Mrs Luper 😦 😦

  2. 2 PoliticalJunkessa
    June 9, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    RIP, Ms. Clara Luper, beautiful lady. I’m so glad she got to experience PBO’s inauguration. What a jewel.

  3. 6 cat48
    June 9, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    A sweet lady, RiP, Thanks for supporting our president. He’s made a lot of people proud.

  4. 7 Ceb
    June 9, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    An old soldier has gone home. Blessed be the name of Jesus for her life and contributions.

    I am so happy that she lived to see the day that she believed could happen when so many others did not.

    Rest in peace.

  5. 8 Tulips
    June 9, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    Thank you for your work Ms. Luper, Now rest and enjoy !

  6. 9 northanger
    June 9, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Rest In Peace.

  7. 10 sjterrid
    June 9, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    RIP Ms. Clara Luper. God bless you for all the work you have done for civil rights. I’m glad that you got to see President Obama’s election.

  8. 11 Robert
    June 9, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    A truly incredible lady. Another angel vanishes from earth. RIP Ms. Clara Luper.

  9. June 9, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    Just in: according to Libya blog on al jazeera: 18 high ranking Libyan officials defect to tunisia. Some of them military!!!

  10. 13 barb
    June 9, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    All blessing and joy come to you Mrs. Luper. It is because of you that we celebrate today and for years to come. It was your faith, positive belief and courage that is being rewarded. May you be singing praises of thanksgiving today as you rest with the Lord and all those who went before you. I know Martin welcomed you as you entered the Golden Gates. Oh happy days, Jesus came for you.

  11. 14 CTGirl
    June 9, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    RIP beloved lady. So happy she witnessed a President Obama in her lifetime.

  12. 15 Hachikō
    June 9, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    RIP Clara Luper.

  13. 16 sherijr
    June 9, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    RIP Dear Clara, for her family- I’m so sorry for your loss, but also very grateful for her time here, that she was able to take part in so much of the best of America’s history- to be a true leader in her own right and to share with us the election of this amazing President. Thank you for letting us learn a little about this lovely lady.

    • 17 anniebella
      June 9, 2011 at 6:35 pm

      Ms. Luper, thank you for all you’ve done. May God Bless your soul. We will never forget you.

  14. 18 AnitaW
    June 9, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    May she rest in peace.

  15. 19 Dakota
    June 9, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    Sister Clara Luper…Rest in Blessed Peace.

  16. 20 hopefruit2
    June 9, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    May Mrs. Luper rest in peace.

  17. 21 Kels
    June 9, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    God Bless this warrior for Civil Rights.

  18. 22 EDP4BHO
    June 9, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    From her lips to God’s ears, to fruition, she helped make our day happen as we celebrate President Obama and his lovely family in office. May she rest with the angels and with her Lord. Amen.

  19. 23 laurie law
    June 9, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    RIP Sister. You have earned your rest , We are grateful for your life and the way you illumined the path for us. Amen

  20. 24 GGail
    June 9, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    God has called one of his Angels home to watch over President Obama from above. Job well done thy good and faithful servant, Clara Luper.

  21. 25 Kasai
    June 9, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    Rest in Peace Clara, I am so glad you lived to see the day, that you never lost hope that one day we would elect a Black President, for some might never know the struggle you went through, but glad that you believed that day will soon come…Make sure you tell Toot and Ann up there among those puffy clouds, that we are so grateful for the gift they left behind.
    I love you Clara Luper

  22. 26 P
    June 9, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    RIP Mrs Luper!

  23. 27 HZ
    June 9, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    A beautiful sight to behold on her face. What a lovely lady of faith, and God gave her the date to see it all happen. May she rest in peace and may we become more and more filled with this type of beautiful faith. We will do it again for this beautiful and strong , Ms. Luper. 2012 for Ms. Luper and the many like her, including my precious mother.

  24. 28 carolyn
    June 9, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    A strong, wonderful woman She held the first sit-in to at the Katz drugstore here in downtown Oklahoma City., refusing to let people tell her she couldn’t eat there with everyone else. Her influence spread far and wide and we are all better for her life. Her funeral service will be at the large Cox Convention Center in downtown Oklahoma City this Saturday. No church will be large enough to hold those who want to honor her. We are very proud of her.

  25. 29 DreamChaser57
    June 10, 2011 at 1:43 am

    This is reminiscent of a scene I vaguely recall in the Ten Commandments movie. There was a man, a Jewish slave; he was in a pit doing back breaking work, he was old and feeble. I believe an overseer struck him violently and as he fell, Moses had compassion upon him and held him as he lay dying. The dying man said it was my prayer that God would permit me to see the Deliverer, the one who would lead us out of Egyptian bondage. Then the man died. Neither Moses nor the man realized that Moses was the deliverer and that in God’s grace he honored the man’s prayer.
    God was gracious and permitted Ms. Luper to witness what she worked so hard for. God speed -may her soul know rest and peace for eternity.
    It is truly better to believe and not see….we will be good stewards of the work you so valiantly started – 2012, we’re In!

  26. 30 Titti
    June 10, 2011 at 7:54 am

    ‘I believe’ – RIP Mrs Luper; on your shoulders we stand.

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