Claire Corlett

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Dr. Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher

Dr. Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher

My name is Dr. R.P. Ashanti-Alexander, and
I am the Principal at Lincoln Elementary School in Chickasha, Oklahoma. Dr. Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher was born in Chickasha,
Oklahoma in 1924. Lived, as a matter of fact, right across from
Lincoln School. Her father was a minister. They moved here from Tulsa, Oklahoma due to
the Tulsa Race Riot, and she was born here in Chickasha. She attended Lincoln School, as I said. Was very active in school activities, community
activities, as well as religious activities. That was a part of her existence growing up
here in Chickasha. She was a very good student, outstanding student. Part of the Black experience in terms of education
was character building. It was about making a contribution in your
life. So, if someone gave to you, you were obligated
to make a difference for others. And that’s the way she was. Dr. Fisher graduated in 1941 and intended
to go to the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff. Her desire was to be a lawyer, but due to
the segregation laws in Oklahoma, she could not attend the University of Oklahoma Law
School. Staying shortly in Arkansas, she ended up
going to Langston University. Her brother was the one that the NAACP had
asked initially to be a participant in the test case to desegregate OU. But he decided he didn’t want to do it, and
she said that she would. OU having the only law school, that’s where
the case was going to be challenged. In 1946 all of the NAACP branches in the state
of Oklahoma, which was almost 20 branches, gathered in Chickasha at Miles Brown CME Church
to have a program, and also to plan and line out their method to address segregation of
Oklahoma. They had a program called the Challenge Against
Jim Crowe, in which, we believe, that Thurgood Marshall, who was her attorney, was here in
Chickasha. The issue facing Dr. Fisher’s entry to OU
was never her academic ability. It was always her race. They began to challenge the case. What’s monumental about the challenge is that
it really lead to the beginning of Brown vs. the Board of Education of Topeka.

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