For the Rights of All: Ending Jim Crow in Alaska

Sun, 11/04/2012 - 5:00pm

Pictured: Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders, 1912

Courtesy Alaska State Library

In the Alaska Purchase of 1867 the United States took on more than just the land. There were indigenous people living everywhere in Alaska. Like Native Americans in the lower 48, Alaska Natives struggled to keep their basic human rights as well as protect their ancient ties to the land. The Bill of Rights did not apply to them. Through extensive reenactments and rarely seen historic footage and photographs, For the Rights of All: Ending Jim Crow in Alaska, airing Sunday, November 4, 2012 at 5 p.m. on WXXI World (DT21.2/cable 524), reveals these remarkable people and their non-violent struggle for civil rights.

This extraordinary story bridges the Civil War to World War II to today’s Native leaders, who find inspiration in the efforts of the generations that preceded them. Those efforts culminated in the passage of the Alaska Anti-Discrimination Act of 1945, one of the first such laws passed anywhere in America, and ten years before Brown versus Board of Education. Of particular note is a young Tlingit activist, Elizabeth Peratrovich, whose dramatic testimony on behalf of the Act is fully reenacted in this film by Jeffry Lloyd Silverman. Narrated by Peter Coyote.