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1968: A Year of Civil Unrest

Activities were winding down here

While 1968 was a watershed year in the Civil Rights movement, many related activities were starting to wind down in Lawton.

That 12-month period 50 years ago was a year of extremes: President Lyndon Johnson signed a civil rights act that became known familiarly as the Fair Housing Act, which supporters lauded as a strong weapon in the war to end segregation by literally hitting the societal problem at home. But, many historians say Johnson was able to achieve his quick success because of the horrific event that came before: the April 4 assassination of Civil Rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. And, others said the point of King's assassination was further driven home by the assassination, only two months later, of Civil Rights champion Robert F. Kennedy on the eve of his campaign to win the Democrat nomination for president.

Long-time Lawton resident Mary McClure said while those 1968 Civil Rights events were crucial to the nation as a whole and important to local residents who continued to fight for equal rights, they didn't have quite the effect that they had in other cities. Part of the reason was that Lawton was well on its way in desegregation efforts, due to focused local efforts and the effect of the military.

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