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Civil Rights Icon Clara Luper is ‘The Mother, The Giant’ - Fall 2021

A portrait of civil rights icon Clara Luper that was unveiled in spring 2021 will reside permanently in the University Center’s Shdeed Lounge, school leaders announced.

The portrait, titled "The Mother, The Giant," was created by Leondre Lattimore (BA Studio Art ’20), a former Clara Luper Scholar at OCU who returned to campus in April for a dedication ceremony in the Bass Music Center atrium.

Painting of a woman in glasses
Clara Luper portrait by Leondre Lattimore

The ceremony included an address from Marilyn Hildreth, Luper’s daughter, who expressed her appreciation for Lattimore’s work and talked about her mother’s efforts to empower youth. Luper, an advisor for the NAACP Youth Council, led a series of “sit-ins” in the late 1950s and 1960s to protest segregation.

“I’m here today because a better day is coming in America,” Hildreth said. “A better day is coming because of you, the young people that are coming behind us. We tried the best that we could. We passed the torch to another generation, and you represent that generation.

“Another thing she taught is to believe in the sun, when the sun do not shine, and to believe in the rain, when the rain do not fall, and believe in a God, if you’ve never seen him.”

Man standing next to framed painting
Leondre Lattimore
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