Support for the Inclusion of Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher in the NMAAHC

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Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher was a key figure in the journey to desegregate education. With the support of the NAACP and Black Dispatch Owner Roscoe Dunjee, she applied to the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 1946 at a time when the movement needed a “jumpstart.”  Everyone knew that her application would be denied because Oklahoma Board of Regents had already instructed President George Cross to deny any application by a Negro for admission.   Represented by Thurgood Marshall, her case, Sipuel v. Board of Regents of University of Oklahoma, reached the United States Supreme Court.  The Court’s immediate per curium decision that Oklahoma had to provide Ms. Sipuel Fisher with a legal education whenever it provided such an education to white students became a foundation for future attacks on segregation.  That decision led Delaware and Arkansas to voluntarily desegregate its graduate school programs.  Because of that ruling, thousands of students were admitted to graduate programs.  Sipuel Fisher’s case was an important stepping stone to Brown v. Board of Education. Having entered the OU Law School in 1949, graduating in 1951, Ms. Sipuel Fisher began practicing law in 1952.  She was appointed to the Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma in 1992 which she described as “complet[ing] a forty-five year cycle.”

The National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. is an important collection of the stories of African Americans who have significantly impacted the country. Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher’s steadfastness and determination which led to that foundational Supreme Court decision fueled and strengthened the march to equality. The inclusion of her story in the NMAAHC is important to capture that influence and inspire future generations.

Please sign your name below to support the inclusion of Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher in the National Museum of African American History and Culture.



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