E. Melvin Porter, Oklahoma’s first black state senator, dies at 86

Ponca City Now - July 28, 2016 9:32 am

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Family members say Oklahoma's first black state senator, who held a sit-in at the state Capitol with civil rights icon Clara Luper and fought to keep the state's only historically black university open, has died.

Sonya Porter says her father, E. Melvin Porter, died Tuesday at his Oklahoma City home after contracting a fever while in hospice care. He was 86.

The Oklahoma Historical Society says Porter, who grew up in Okmulgee, was the second black member of the Oklahoma Legislature. He served in the Senate from 1965-1987, pushing for the state's Anti-Discrimination Act and the inclusion of black history in textbooks.

Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman says Porter's election was "a historic achievement" for the state and says Porter's work made Oklahoma a better place for all citizens.

 

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