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on this book, written by Breton resident, Gwen Hooks.
The picture facing all settlers at the turn of the century was a daunting one ... uncleared land, harsh weather and isolation. Non-Europeans often suffered the additional hardship of discrimination. This helps to explain why the flow of black American settlers from Oklahoma, begun in 1908 with Canadian government encouragement, was virtually over by 1912.
Nevertheless, about 1,000 courageous black souls settled in the province, including Keystone (now Breton).
In 1989 the Breton & District Historical Museum opened to the public, with exhibits that focus on four major themes: Black History, the Lumbering Industry, Community Development, and Agricultural Development. The Museum is located at 4711 - 51 Street in the former Breton Elementary School, a two-room school built in 1948.
The Breton & District Historical Museum is the only museum in the province that has a major focus on the Black settlement history of Alberta. Keystone (Breton) was one of four such rural communities in Alberta founded by Black settlers from Oklahoma and neighbouring states during the first part of the 20th century. One of the premier events the Museum hosts each year, on the fourth Sunday in February, is Black History Day.
The Museum also celebrates its lumbering history, which began with logging timber berths around the turn of the century. Breton and district became a major lumbering centre in the late 1920s after the arrival of the railway in 1926.
During the off season the museum is happy to open its doors for school tours and private tours.
Breton and District Historical Museum
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