Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher
to enlarge |Artist: Mike
Sponsor: Sen. Penny Williams
Dedication: February 10,
Size: 40" x 30"
Type: Oil on Canvas
Location: 4th Floor, North
Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher (1924–1995)
was represented before the United States Supreme Court
by attorneys Thurgood Marshall and Amos T. Hall in efforts
to break the racial barriers in higher education in Oklahoma.
Ada Lois Sipuel was born in
Chickasha and married Warren Fisher in 1944. She earned
a degree from Langston University in 1945 and was chosen
by the Oklahoma delegation of the NAACP later that year
to serve as plaintiff in litigation to contest Oklahoma’s
In January 1946, Ada Lois applied
to the OU law school and was denied admittance because of
race. Litigation followed in Cleveland County and the Oklahoma
Supreme Court. The case of Sipuel v. Board of Regents of
the University of Oklahoma was successfully petitioned to
the U.S. Supreme Court by a writ of certiorari, and attorneys
Hall and Marshall argued the appeal in January 1948. In a
swift decision, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling that
entitled Ada to secure a legal education afforded by a state
institution and that it be provided for her as soon as it
would for any other class of citizens. However, it did not
rule segregation unconstitutional.
In January 1948, the Langston
College of Law was created in the Oklahoma State Capitol
with three part time instructors and one potential student.
Ada refused to attend. Instead, further litigation was initiated
to prove the two law schools were not equal.
Ada Lois was finally permitted
to attend classes at the University of Oklahoma law school
in 1949, although under segregated conditions. She graduated
in 1951 and passed the State Bar examination the same year.
She practiced law in Chickasha and later became head of the
Social Studies Department at Langston University. She earned
a master’s degree in history at the University of Oklahoma
In April 1992, more than 45 years
after she was denied admission to the law school, Governor
David Walters appointed Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher to the University
of Oklahoma Board of Regents. Her son, Bruce Fisher, now
works for the Oklahoma Historical Society, and her daughter,
Charlene Factory, works for the Oklahoma City Public School
District. Ada’s sister, Helen Huggins, lives in Oklahoma
Images are copyright of
The Oklahoma State Senate Historical Preservation Fund, Inc.
and the artist. Please contact Sandra Shelton at 521-5663
or firstname.lastname@example.org for
further copyright information.