Behold the Walls
Published by: University of Oklahoma Press
Imprint: University of Oklahoma Press
312 Pages | 6 x 9 | 33 b&w illus.
First published in 1979, Behold the Walls now features a new introduction and 33 newly selected historical photos. Luper’s direct, unvarnished account captures the immediacy of the events she witnessed. As a Black woman, Luper refused to let either racism or sexism deter her from stepping forth as a leader. Born in 1923, Clara Luper taught history in Oklahoma public schools and led the NAACP Youth Council. The students who sat in at Katz Drug and other businesses belonged to that organization. Luper highlights the contributions of others, especially young people, in breaking down the walls of segregation in Oklahoma through numerous demonstrations, marches, and voter registration campaigns.
This commemorative edition of Luper’s eye-opening autobiography, published near what would have been her 100th birthday, as well as the 65th anniversary of the sit-ins, offers invaluable insight into the history of protest in the early years of the civil rights movement. With racial inequality still at the forefront of national debate, Behold the Walls places Luper’s efforts in the larger national context of the struggle to resist injustice and inspire positive change.
"In the 1950s, Oklahoma icon Clara Luper, a fierce force for social justice, marked the state’s place on the American civil rights trail. This book beautifully retraces her glorious, and ultimately victorious, campaign.”—Hannibal B. Johnson, Esq., author of Black Wall Street 100: An American City Grapples with Its Historical Racial Trauma
“A timely update to a powerful story. In an era of great disagreement about racism’s history and continuing influence, all Oklahomans need to be reminded of Clara Luper’s contribution to all of our lives, regardless of our skin color. Clara Luper and those like her set us free, in a sense, if we will only accept the gift.”—Randy Krehbiel, author of Tulsa, 1921: Reporting a Massacre