Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: May 11, 2015
Sen. Anastasia introduces former Sen. Melvin Porter and his family.
Also pictured on far left is Sen. Kevin Matthews and Sen. David
Oklahoma's first African American state Senator Melvin Porter addresses
the Senate on the 50th anniversary of his election.
Oklahoma’s First African American
State Senator recognized on 50th anniversary
Oklahoma’s first African American State Senator
and civil rights leader, E. Melvin Porter, was recognized on Wednesday
afternoon in the Senate chamber with a resolution authored by Sens.
Holt and Kevin
Matthews. Senate Resolution 36 was presented on the Senate floor
to Porter, who was accompanied by his family.
Porter was a member of the first class at Vanderbilt University
Law School in Nashville, Tennessee to include African American students
in 1956 and he continued as a civil rights leader following graduation
in 1959. In 1961, he was elected president of the Oklahoma City
chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored
People where he provided legal services and participated in sit-ins
and boycotts with Clara Luper and other NAACP members. Soon after
in 1964, Porter was elected to represent the newly-created Senate
District 48 as the first African American Oklahoma State Senator
and served in that seat until 1986.
“It’s a tremendous honor to recognize Senator Porter
for his contributions and accomplishments in Oklahoma’s African
American history,” said Pittman, D- Oklahoma City. “As
a current state legislator, I see and appreciate the footprint of
his contributions every day on the history of this great state.”
While in office, Porter introduced Oklahoma’s Anti-Discrimination
Act and was also instrumental in supporting legislation that represented
his constituency, including a bill that required the inclusion of
black history in Oklahoma’s textbooks. Since Porter’s
election to office, nine more African American Oklahomans have been
elected to the Oklahoma Senate.
“When Oklahoma redistricted based on population for the first
time in 1964, many injustices were finally addressed. The greatest
of these was the lack of African American representation in our
Oklahoma Senate,” said Holt, R- Oklahoma City. “Senator
Porter’s election fifty years ago was a major milestone, and
one that I am glad we took the time to recognize. I hope all Oklahomans
will take a moment to consider what his election meant to our state.”
Wednesday’s presentation marked the 50th anniversary of Porter’s
election to the State Senate and commended his accomplishments as
a legislator and civil rights leader.
“I am proud we are recognizing the trailblazer that paved
the way for a person like me to be honored with this responsibility,”
said Matthews, D-Tulsa.
For more information, contact:
Sen. Pittman: (405) 521-5531 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Holt: (405) 521-5636 or email@example.com
Sen. Matthews: (405) 521-5598 or firstname.lastname@example.org