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Amidst the whistles of centennial trains, the hoopla of dedicating vintage-looking clocks and the wonderment of millions of twinkling lights, another centennial project celebrates Oklahoma’s first 100 years quietly and without fanfare.

“Uncrowned Queens: African American Community Builders of Oklahoma: 1907-2007,” an official Oklahoma Centennial Project and the fourth book in a series by Peggy Brooks-Bertram, adjunct assistant professor in the Department of African American Studies at the University of Buffalo, and Barbara Seals Nevergold, director of Student Support Services in UB’s Educational Opportunity Center, was published in May, 2007.

The book, which celebrates the early pioneer women who settled in Oklahoma Territory, features the biographies and photographs of more than 100 pioneer women, including the late Lillie Bell Curry Blunt of Chickasha, who is pictured on the book’s front over.

In addition, the book features Blunt’s daughter, Loretta Jackson of Chickasha, who is also closely involved with two local centennial projects, including “The Chickasha and Grady County African-American Heritage and Culture Pictorial History Book,” and African American Museum and One-Room School Restoration Project, featuring the One Room Verden Separate School, which has been on the National Register of Historic Places since December, 2005.

The book also features a third generation in Blunt’s family, her granddaughter Cynthia Anderson, Jackson’s daughter, who was born in Chickasha and attended Chickasha Public Schools until the 10th grade.

Blunt, who was born April 7, 1907, came to Oklahoma in 1909 where she lived with her family in the Ninnekah and Norge areas. She attended the Norge Separate School and, later, Lincoln School in Chickasha. A strict disciplinarian, she was well-known throughout the community for her generosity and willingness to help those in need.

According to the authors, the mission of the book project is to “conduct research on the issues affecting women of color, to use this research to develop educational programs that will enhance the quality of life for women and their communities, to promote the collection and dissemination of... women’s collective history and to teach and educate women on the use of technology to preserve and disseminate their histories.”

Blunt is also featured in the book, “Salt of the Red Earth, A Century of Wit and Wisdom from Oklahoma’s Elders,” by M. J. Alexander. Her photograph is featured on the back cover of the coffee-table sized volume which features dramatic photographs of a cross-section of American elders along with such observations on life as “Be honest. Go to church. Pay your bills,” and “I have no regrets.”

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