A $150,000 donation was announced Thursday for the creation of a public plaza to honor the legacy of a civil rights icon.
The gift was announced by the Richison Family Foundation. The Clara Luper Sit-In Plaza will commemorate her 1958 sit-in protest at Oklahoma City. An Oklahoma City school teacher at the time, Luper and her students held the protest at Katz Drug Store, which was segregated. That protest led to the integration of Katz's lunch counter and spawned similar protests across the United States.
"Clara Luper’s courage and leadership helped shape the civil rights movement in both our state and country," said Chad Richison, founder of the Richison Family Foundation and Paycom. "Mrs. Luper’s story and message will be amplified for Oklahomans and visitors through the creation of this plaza. We’re grateful for the opportunity to contribute to this meaningful project."
The plaza is planned for construction at West Main Street and North Robinson Avenue in downtown Oklahoma City.
The $3.6 million monument will include a 16-foot bronze reproduction of the Katz Drug Store lunch counter surrounded by sculptures of Luper, her 13 students and a lunch counter employee. Stone walls will include historical information to provide visitors with context about the sit-in.
The project is expected to be finished in 2024.