A new traveling exhibit entitled “Early Oklahoma: Black Dreams/Black Hope” will be unveiled on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the University of Science and Arts’ Student Center Regents Room.


Sponsored by the Oklahoma Humanities Council, this nine-panel exhibition tells the stories of Chickasha’s Ada Lois Sipuel, who broke down color barriers in higher education; early Oklahoma journalist Roscoe Dunjee; and Edwin McCabe, an early Black leader in territorial Oklahoma.


The event is scheduled 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, March 25, in the USAO Student Center, located at the corner of 17th and Alabama in Chickasha.


Funding was provided by the Oklahoma Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The exhibit was created by and for the Loretta Y. Jackson African American Historical Society.


“From the original idea to writing and design, and now fully realized, this beautiful display is nearly 10 years in the making,” said Loretta Y. Jackson. “It all started when we received a request for information from a high school student at Minco, Amy Howle, who was preparing a research project for National History Day in 1997. Her project concerned the achievements of prominent Black leaders Ada Lois Sipuel and Edwin McCabe, which inspired us to develop this project into a full-blown traveling exhibition.


The name of her project was “A Matter of Black and White,” which won first place in the district and first in the state competition. Her inspiration got this started.”


Eventually Howle’s work was displayed at the University of Maryland, and then at the National History Museum in the Smithsonian, Jackson said.


“Amy shared her work with us, and we built upon it. “The more we discussed and studied these historic figures, the more excited we became about sharing their stories in a new way.”


The new exhibition will travel to schools and museums throughout Oklahoma and Kansas. Anyone interested in sponsoring the display at a school, church, library or community event is invited to write to the LYJ-African American Historical Society at P.O. Box 2044, Chickasha, OK 73023.


“Early Oklahoma: Black Dreams/Black Hope” already has received praise from the National Association of Black Journalists. Because of Roscoe Dunjee’s leadership in early Oklahoma journalism – he owned and operated The Black Dispatch – and his advocacy for civil rights through civil means, Dunjee is regarded as a pivotal spokesman for the civil rights movement.

Additional in-depth research was done by Cynthia Usher and Bruce Fisher. Design was provided by USAO.