To learn more about Clara Luper and her contributions in civil rights and social justice, please consider visiting one of these wonderful museums shown below...and of course, continue to check this site often as well.
My Father's Flag
An Excerpt from Behold The Walls by Clara Luper
A police officer rushed over to tell me that they had just received a call in which a man stated he was going to bomb my house...I thought about my father, a veteran of World War I, and that early morning in 1957, when I took him to Veterans Hospital. I was getting ready to go to New York City to present "Brother President," a play that I had written and he said he was proud of me and my work with the NAACP. He told me how difficult his life had been, how he had to "Uncle Tom," in order to feed his family and every time he had said, "Yes, sir, Mr. Lackey," he was thinking of his children and grandchildren and he doesn't want them to "Uncle Tom" to anyone. He said he didn't know how long he'd be with us, but when he died, he wanted me to have the flag that the U.S. government would give to my mother. "This shall be my last wish," he said. Ninety days from that day, he died and that flag was mine.
I felt as if he were standing before me and I could hear his words. I started crying. "Ruth, we've got to go home this minute. My flag! My flag is in my house, and if anyone would burn the flag from my father's casket, I'd kill them." Ruth was crying, too, and we both cried all the way to my house...it was broadcast on the radio that someone had threatened to bomb my house and I left the sit-in to rush home after my U.S. flag.
Both Ruth and I were relieved when we saw that everything was all right. My neighbors put their arms around me...and said they would all stay and watch my house. When I returned to John A. Brown's, a group of men from the American Legion, Veteran's of Foreign Wars [and others] arrived and offered their support and pledged to do everything that they could to prevent bombings and violence in Oklahoma City. An elderly white woman came over and demanded to speak with me..."I came because I want to put the flag that your father left you in my safe deposit box." She leaned toward me and said, "I'm your friend, Clara, and you have a lot of white friends...Let me do this little thing for you. It's a big thing to me. Please, Clara, at least let me keep the flag safe for you."
Without a word, I handed her the flag. She thanked me, hugged me and gave me her name, address and telephone number. "Thanks," was all that I could say. I turned and walked back to the group where I was flooded with questions. "You have never seen her before and yet you gave her your flag?" "Why?" James Woods asked. "Just because i trust her." He frowned and said, "I'm glad you trust her ecause I don't ." "You're young. Someday you'll learn that all white people aren't like these that we see here everyday."
Pause and take a moment to reflect on the power of our flag and what it represents to you.
IN HER OWN WORDS:
WEEK OF JUNE 11, 2017
Copyright 2015 Clara Luper Legacy Foundation.
All Rights Reserved.