Civil Rights activists and educators Marilyn Luper Hildreth and Joyce Henderson spoke to the students of Tecumseh Middle School Tuesday about the Civil Rights movement and the importance of Oklahoma's history during the time of segregation.
Hildreth is the daughter of well-known activist and educator Clara Luper who led 13 students in the United Stated's first sit-in demonstration in 1958 at Katz Drug Store in Oklahoma City.
"It's important that you know (history) because unless we can get kids to understand from where we've come then they'll never know where they're going and it'll be like the Lost Generation," Hildreth said.
It was Hildreth who suggested the 13 students and her mother sit in the store and since she was nine-years-old she's been fighting for equality.
Like Hildreth, Henderson was inspired by Clara Luper who was her teacher when she attended school in OKC.
Henderson told the students she entered the Civil Rights movement when she was 13-years-old and she attended Martin Luther King Jr's famous "I Have A Dream" speech during the March on Washington in 1963 with Luper.
Henderson explained she felt her speech planted a seed in students that may take time, but will eventually grow.
"You never know what young people are thinking...You don't realize the impact of this until later on in life, so although they heard us I think they'll understand as they get older," Henderson said.
Both women spoke on the importance of the past but also looking to the future and they encouraged students to consider how they can continue the fight.
"They have to realize that they too are in a generation that can make changes to make America a better place for democracy," Hildreth said.
After both women completed their speeches the school applauded them. Then students from the school's Multicultural class presented the activists with earnings and a pledge to end racism and prevent unfair treatment at TMS.
"I was glad to know they have a Multicultural class here because too many times you have that part of the curriculum excluded and to know that they have included it that's so much of a plus in my eyes," Henderson said.
Hildreth said she found the pledge extremely moving and she was happy to see so many young people agree with it.
"I loved the pledge and I wish that we could get that pledge made in all the schools that we attend because when (people) realize it's a problem they can do something about it," Hildreth said.