Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Anti-Discrimination Act

Today many Alaskans are aware of Tlingit woman Elizabeth Peratrovich (1911-1958) and the Anti-Discrimination Act of 1945, Alaska's legislation that made it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race. February 16 is a state holiday, Elizabeth Peratrovich Day, in her honor and for her work toward the Anti-Discrimination Act. It's an important day and event to remember, along with the work of many individuals of and before her day across the state, and especially those of the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Sisterhood, that worked toward the legislation that was eventually passed as the Anti-Discrimination Act.

In 1988 Elizabeth Peratrovich's widower Roy Peratrovich spoke at length about his life, their work toward the Anti-Discrimination Act, and aspects of Alaska Native life. In 2011 this interview, found in SHI's archival collections, was transcribed by Ishmael Hope and placed online for educational purposes. This interview gives context and first hand information on these important events of the past. This four-part interview can be read by clicking here, with Part II, containing specific language about the Anti-Discrimination Act of 1945. A special thanks to Ishmael Hope for placing this online, furthering education, and sharing with SHI.

Elizabeth Peratrovich's high school yearbook photograph.