“As I stood there in front of the crowd, I realized how Reverend E. W. Perry had paved the streets of opportunity for us.” ‒ Clara LuperEzel Willie Perry, Sr. was born in a log cabin in Mississippi in 1882. He brought his family to Oklahoma City in 1915 when he became the pastor of the city’s historic Tabernacle Baptist Church. Perry earned a national reputation as a great speaker and orator and was known for his strong messages of peace and brotherhood. He served as president of the Oklahoma Baptist Convention and vice president of the National Baptist Convention for 47 years and in 1949, he became the first African American to address the Southern Baptist Convention. During his fifty plus years at Tabernacle, he was an inspiration for the civil rights leaders of the 1950s and 1960s and showed unwavering dedication to making Oklahoma a better place for all people.