Alaska, Opinion

Happy Elizabeth Peratrovich Day

Elizabeth Peratrovich

Today marks the Anniversary of the Alaska Territory Anti-Discrimination Act of 1945. It is named “Elizabeth Peratrovich Day” because of Elizabeth Peratrovich’s essential work towards getting the Act passed.

Prior to the Anti-Discrimination act, public facilities, private businesses, housing, hotels, and schools were segregated. The situation was much like the Jim Crow South of the Lower 48. The Anti-Discrimination Act provided for “…full and equal accommodations, facilities, and privileges to all citizens in places of public accommodations within the jurisdiction of the Territory of Alaska; to provide penalties for violation.”

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The Anti-Discrimination Act was defeated in 1943, but the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Alaska Native Sisterhood persevered. The act came before the Territorial Legislature again in 1945. Elizabeth Peratrovich’s speech to the legislature is widely credited with winning over the legislators and getting the act passed. She also worked tirelessly, along with others, to get the Act to the floor.

Elizabeth Peratrovich is a Civil Rights hero!

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