Even though they aren’t household names, Daniel Jurney “D. J.” and Alzena Diggs were two of the most important influences in the annals of Oklahoma City’s civil rights history. Born in the Reconstruction south in the 1870s, they were a full generation older than more recognizable figures in the struggle for equality. A successful real estate developer, D. J. Diggs, often called “Papa Diggs”, served many years on the boards of the local chapter of the Urban League, YMCA, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He was known throughout the community for his cheerful personality, quick wit, endless generosity and sincerity. In 1957, the Diggs had become concerned about the lack of youth participation in the NAACP and they insisted that, young, dynamic history teacher Clara Luper take charge of the NAACP Youth Council. A year later Luper and the Youth Council began the sit-ins that would define Oklahoma City’s civil rights history and bring about the end of segregation in the city.
The land for this park was acquired by the city in 1962 and was named Daniel J. Diggs Park by the city council in 1970.