50 years after Okla. sit-in, participants honored

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Portwood Williams didn't know what kind of reception the children in his car would receive when they sat down at a segregated lunch counter in downtown Oklahoma City to order some soft drinks.

"I didn't care," Williams said Tuesday on the 50th anniversary of the peaceful sit-in, which lasted for days and inspired similar actions elsewhere, helping to propel the nation's civil rights movement.

Williams, now 93, was one of several chaperones who drove a group of black children to the all-white drug store lunch counter — including his own son.
"I wanted them to have a better opportunity than me," he said.

Williams, Clara Luper and eight others who participated in one of the first protests in the modern civil rights movement gathered at the Oklahoma History Center, where they were honored for their efforts to end racial segregation.

Special recognition was paid to Luper, a history teacher who was arrested 26 times in civil rights activities across the country.

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