The Clara Luper Civil Rights and Freedom Center
The Clara Luper Civil Rights and Freedom Center of Oklahoma City will honor the pivotal role the late Clara Luper played in fostering the modern civil rights movement, locally and nationally. Under her leadership, the NAACP Youth Council led Oklahoma City lunch counter sit-ins, the first of its kind in the United States, which were instrumental in breaking discriminatory barriers in public accommodations. The non-violent philosophy and demonstration tactics taught by Mrs. Luper became replicable models later leveraged in civil rights protests throughout the United States.
Freedom Center, LLC, a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization founded in 2019 for the purpose of restoring and operating the existing historic Freedom Center building, engaged Lord Cultural Resources to provide visioning, planning and implementation services — including needs assessment and community engagement initiatives, space and business planning; as well as capital cost projections— for the city-approved $25 million Clara Luper Civil Rights and Freedom Center. Spanning three city blocks, the complex includes multiple buildings and landscaped areas, which will be woven together and presented to visitors as an “interactive journey to equality.” Working with local architecture firm Bockus Payne and designer Colin Henry, Lord is helping to define and plan: the 1,900 SQFT, Freedom Center Building (existing structure, where Mrs. Luper’s nonviolent civil rights movement began), a Visitor’s Center, the 11,000 SQFT Clara Luper Civil Rights Center, and an 8,000 SQFT Multipurpose Education and Event Center.