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RESCHEDULED: OCU hosts civil rights dignitaries for panel discussion

A panel discussion at Oklahoma City University will reflect on the historic sit-in movement and the wider struggles for civil rights during a Black History Month event at 5 p.m. Feb. 16.

Joyce Henderson, Marilyn Luper Hildreth and Joyce Jackson will present “Reflections of the OKC Sit-In Movement” in the Kerr McGee Auditorium of Meinders School of Business, NW 27th Street and McKinley Avenue. Refreshments will be served before the presentation.

All three panelists are connected to the sit-in movement that began in 1958 — one of the early events of the broader civil rights movement in Oklahoma City — in protest of racial discrimination. Hildreth was one of the original 13 members of the initial Katz Drug Store sit-in, and Henderson and Jackson were also part of the NAACP Youth Council that organized it and future protests it spawned throughout the rest of the city.

After the young participants peacefully protested for three straight days at the whites-only Katz Drug Store lunch counter, much of that time suffering verbal and physical abuse, the drugstore decided to integrate the lunch counter. That success became one of the historical markers of the civil rights movement that launched a six-year-long sit-in movement throughout the rest of the city.

Preregistration to attend the panel discussion is available online or by emailing [email protected].

The university will preview the panel discussion with a screening of the documentary “Children of the Civil Rights” at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 15 in the University Center near NW 26th Street and Florida Avenue. The documentary focuses on a group of young people who participated in sit-ins across Oklahoma City that culminated with the integration of all but one restaurant — without the benefit of national news coverage and predating the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Both events are free to the public.

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