1958 August 19

NAACP Youth Council Conducts Early Sit-in in Oklahoma City


Inspired by the success of Wichita, Kansas, sit-in on August 11, 1958, an NAACP youth chapter staged a sit-in at a segregated lunch counter in Oklahoma City on this day. The short-hand version of the history of the civil rights movement dates the sit-in movement as beginning on February 1, 1960, in Greensboro, North Carolina. In fact, however, there had been a number of sit-ins in the previous seventeen years. See, for example, April 17, 1943, and April 22, 1944 (both in Washington, D.C.); May 8, 1943 (Chicago); January 20, 1955 (Baltimore). These early sit-ins, however, did not spark a national sit-in movement, as the 1960 sit-ins did.

Learn more about the Oklahoma City civil rights campaign: http://nvdatabase.swarthmore.edu/content/oklahoma-city-african-americans-sit-integration-1958-64

Learn about Clara Luper, one of the leaders of the Oklahoma sit-ins: http://storiesinamerica.blogspot.com/2005/07/oklahoma-sit-ins-conversation-with.html

Read: Gilbert Jones, Freedom’s Sword: The NAACP and the Struggle Against Racism in America, 1909–1969 (2012)

Learn more: Iwan W. Morgan and Philip Davies, From Sit-ins to SNCC: The Student Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s (2012)

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