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Current Developments

Some structures dating back to the Black Pioneers' presence at the beginning of the 20th century are still visible in Keystone today (known as Breton after 1927). The cemetery still exists, while Funnell School has been converted into a community hall. The Breton and District Historical Society is working hard to keep the memory of this Black community alive. In 1985, the Society restored the cemetery and dedicated a plaque to the pioneers buried there. In 1989, The Breton and District Historical Museum was created to showcase the history of Breton’s black pioneers.

Currently, Vant Hayes is the only Black settler still farming in Breton. Although the community has dispersed, its legacy still lives on in the triumphs of its pioneers and descendants. Jesse Jones, who taught at the Funnell School, was a track and field champion during the 1920s. His son, Lionel Locksley Jones, became the Alberta’s first Black provincial judge. Violet King, a descendant of the King family of Keystone, graduated from the University of Alberta Faculty of Law in 1954. She was the first Black female lawyer in Canada, and the second woman to be admitted to the Calgary Bar. Gwen Hooks, a former teacher at Funnell School, is an accomplished novelist, poet, and historian who still works in the Edmonton area today.


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