Posted on 07/20/2008

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OU Law School
Thurgood Marshall
Langston University
Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher
African American
University of Oklahoma Law School

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Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher, She Would Not Be Stopped

Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher, She Would Not Be Stopped
Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher was born in Chickasha, Oklahoma in 1924 where she attended the segregated school of her time, Lincoln School. She married Warren Fisher in 1944 and had two children, Bruce and Charlene. After graduating from the segregated Langston University with top honors in 1945, Fisher volunteered to be the successful test case for admission to the University of Oklahoma Law School represented by NAACP attorney Thurgood Marshall and Oklahoma attorney Amos T. Hall.

When denied admission on the basis of race, Fisher filed a suit asserting that she must be admitted to the OU Law School since there was no comparable facility for African American students. Losing in state courts, Marshall argued the case before the Supreme Court which reversed the lower courts in 1948. The state quickly created a makeshift law school in the State Capitol with three part time instructors and one potential student. Fisher refused to attend. Further litigation was initiated to prove the two law schools were not equal.

In June of 1949, the University of Oklahoma Law School changed its admission policy and finally permitted Fisher to enroll. After graduating in 1951 and passing the State Bar the same year, she practiced law in Chickasha. In the '50s, she became a professor at Langston University where she taught for 32 years. She earned a master’s degree in history at OU in 1968.

Following her retirement from Langston University, she worked as Corporate Counsel for Automation Research System Limited in Alexandria, Virginia, the second largest African American owned computer corporation in the country at that time.

In 1981, the Smithsonian Institution designated her as one of the 150 outstanding black women who have had the most impact on the course of American history. In 1991, OU honored her with an Honorary Doctorate, and in 1992, more than 45 years after she was denied admission to the law school, Governor David Walters appointed Fisher to the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents. She died in 1995.