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Historical society hosts exhibit of challenges

Whether it was farm families adding value to soil and grass or merchants connecting supply and demand, Oklahomans have been walking onto the stage of history for more than three centuries with skills and values needed to face the challenges and seize the opportunities of free enterprise.

The Oklahoma Historical Society is presenting dramatic stories of Oklahomans facing those challenges and seizing opportunities in a new exhibit, "Crossroads of Commerce: A History of Free Enterprise in Oklahoma," at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City.

"In this exhibit, visitors will see, hear and experience success stories told, not through trends and numbers, but rather through the lives of risk-takers, innovators and philanthropists," said Bob Blackburn, executive director of Oklahoma. Historical Society "These remarkable Oklahomans have generated wealth, created jobs and improved our quality of life."

The History Center exhibit also is connected to sites that can be visited across the state.

The first area of the exhibit, "Conquering Distance, 1719 to 1907," will present stories of American Indians and pioneers who found ways to invest in trade and business on a frontier that was landlocked, Blackburn said. For example, Choctaw entrepreneur Robert M. Jones was raised in the worlds of his Choctaw mother and his white father. Jones settled near Fort Towson, close to the Red River, and married Susan Colbert, the daughter of a successful planter.

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