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Freedom Center of Oklahoma City

Award Date: June 11, 2022
Awarded: $$350,000

The Freedom Center of Oklahoma City seeks to restore and furnish the historic Freedom Center building at 2609 N. Martin Luther King Avenue. The Freedom Center building, which was originally built and operated as a Mobil gas station, is historically significant. It served as the operations hub and meeting site where the late community activist Clara Luper taught Black youth and adults how to protect and peacefully demonstrate for their civil rights in the 1960s and 1970s.

Through Mrs. Luper’s efforts, Oklahoma City residents successfully staged one of the first restaurant counter sit-ins in the nation, a protest strategy that resulted in Black individuals getting equal access to these types of accommodations, both here and in other parts of the country. The Freedom Center building is slated to be part of a much larger civil rights center complex to be built in the years ahead, through $25 million in dedicated funds from MAPS4 city funding. The Clara Luper Civil Rights Center, recognizing Mrs. Luper’s hard work and perseverance, will be located adjacent to the current Freedom Center Building.