Category Archives: people
Elizabeth Peratrovich Day
Today Alaska celebrates the life and dedication of Elizabeth Peratrovich.
In 1945, the Anti-Discrimination Act came before the Alaska Territorial Senate. The bill had already passed the House, and Peratrovich was slated to testify on the bill’s behalf. The State Legislative Building was packed to the rafters, and the doors were left open so that those in the hallways could hear the proceedings.
A Juneau senator cemented his place in Alaska history with this question: “Who are these people, barely out of savagery, who want to associate with us whites, with 5,000 years of recorded civilization behind us?”
When Elizabeth Peratrovich testified, she responded with, “I would not have expected that I, who am barely out of savagery, would have to remind gentlemen with five thousand years of recorded civilization behind them, of our Bill of Rights.” She went on a passionate plea calling for equal treatment for Indigenous peoples in the state.
The bill passed the Senate 11-5 and was signed by Governor Gruening on February 16, 1945. Alaska was still a territory, and its Anti-Discrimination Act passed almost 20 years before the United States passed the Civil Rights Act.
Walter Harper Day
Today is Walter Harper Day in Alaska. Harper, at the age of 20, was the first person to stand on the summit of Denali on June 7, 1913.
It took the expedition three months to travel from Fairbanks to the summit of North America’s highest peak. The final four weeks of the trek were spent on The Mountain.
Harper and his new bride were on the doomed final voyage of the steamer Princess Sophia, when it ran aground in Lynn Canal, and eventually sank when a storm came up. He was 25.
“Who do you love”
Ronnie Hawkins and The Band; The Last Waltz, 1976:
Ronnie Hawkins, the brash, “King of Rockabilly” died over the weekend. The Hawk was 87.
Delta Junction and Ukraine
Delta Junction is a town that lies approximately 90 miles east of Fairbanks. The northern end of the Alaska Highway is at Delta Junction.
Many would be surprised to hear that of all towns in the United States, Delta Junction has the highest percentage of Ukrainians. 16.4% of residents were born in Ukraine, and an even higher percentage have Ukrainian ancestry.
I have quite a few customers coming in from Delta Junction, and there have been a lot of very concerned people from Delta.
I received word over the the weekend, that photographer Tom Sadowski had passed away in his home in Maine this summer.
Anyone who has perused a gift store in Alaska has seen his postcards. Those postcards, were not in the Hallmark tradition, per se, but more of a quirky, sometimes zany, and always humorous visual, of life and travel in the 49th State.
Sadowski was a long time columnist for the Anchorage Free Press, writing some 500 weekly columns. He had gone into semi-retirement only last year.
Rest in peace Mr Sadowski.
Jacoby wins Gold
I worked late on Monday, but I arrived home just in time for this:
Lydia Jacoby beat her own career best time, while swimming ahead of the current world record holder, and Olympic record holder, in order to take home the gold medal in the women’s 100 meter breaststroke.
In this case, home is Seward, Alaska.
Alaskans were pumped about Jacoby’s performance in the semifinal, which was 8 tenths of a second slower than her final swim.
Alaskans across the state watched the race, and several hundred fans met at the Seward train depot to catch it on the big screen. Jacoby grew up swimming with the Seward Tsunami Swim Club.
It was the first gold medal in swimming for an Alaskan.
Astronaut Michael Collins, the command module pilot for the Apollo 11 moon landing mission, passed away on Wednesday. Collins was 90.
“I am too old to fly to Mars, and I regret that. But I still think I have been very, very lucky. I was born in the days of biplanes and Buck Rogers, learned to fly in the early jets, and hit my peak when moon rockets came along. That’s hard to beat.” —Michael Collins