Reenactments Of The Katz Drug Store Sit-In In Honor Of 60th Anniversary
OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma City sit-in movement started when 13 children protested segregation at Katz Drug Store in downtown Oklahoma City.
August 19, 1958, the day a peaceful protest would spark a movement in our state.
Today, hundreds gathered to honor the people who participated in the sit-in, with a re-enactment of their own. They gathered at Frontline Church and marched their way to Kaisers Diner, where 13 children, the same ages as the ones 60 years ago, took a seat at the counter.
“I looked at these kids this morning. and said 'Thank God they don't have to face the fears that we did,” Marilyn Luper-Hildreth said.
The children in 1958 were lead by Clara Luper, a teacher turned activist, who wanted to see equality for all.
Her daughter, Marilyn, was only nine at the time, as she sat at Katz Drug Store and waited to be served.
“People we didn't know would spit on us. Dump coffee on us. Pour water over us. Curse us out. Do things that you would never think that adults would do,” Hildreth said.
They sat until they saw change. And two days later, Katz ended their segregation policy.
The group went to other stores demanding change, no matter the consequences
A few years later, the 1964 Civil Rights Act ended segregation in public places.
Luper passed away in 2011, but events like this, help her legacy continue.
“How do I feel today? I feel like, my mom is looking down on Oklahoma City. Because she gave her life, her energy, to making a change in the city, state, and nation,” Hildreth said.
Four women, including Marilyn, who were apart of the original sit-in, attended today's re-enactment.
They were surrounded by support. Support they didn't have 60 years ago.
“We can make a difference. But it takes each one of us. We can either work together as brothers and sisters. Or sink together” Hildreth said.
The rest of the events include:
- 7 p.m. Aug. 18 at Page-Woodson “Auditorium at the Douglass,” 600 N. High Ave., Oklahoma City.
- 6 p.m. Aug. 19 at Fifth Street Baptist Church, 801 NE 5th St., Oklahoma City.