Elizabeth Peratrovich Day: February 16

In 1988 the Alaska State Legislature established February 16 as Elizabeth Peratrovich Day in honor of a woman whose tireless work on civil rights issues for Alaska Natives led to the passage of the Anti-Discrimination Act.

House Bill 14, Chapter 2, an Act, known as the Anti-Discrimination Act, was approved on February 16, 1945 as part of the Seventeenth Regular Session, Territorial Legislature of Alaska. The Anti-Discrimination Act is considered a landmark piece of Civil Rights legislation in Alaska. This document comes from the Sessions Laws of Alaska, 1945, pages 35-36 and can be viewed at http://vilda.alaska.edu/cdm/ref/collection/cdmg41/id/543.

Elizabeth and her husband, Roy Peratrovich, both served as Grand Presidents of the Alaska Native Sisterhood (ANS) and Alaska Native Brotherhood (ANB) and were leaders in addressing civil and human rights for Alaska Natives.  The Alaska State Archives has digitized and made available online materials documenting their efforts in the form of 65 pages of correspondence and documents from Governor Ernest Gruening’s papers between 1943 and 1946, the period when Elizabeth and Roy were serving the ANS and ANB.

Included in these papers is the 19-page legal opinion by the Attorney General about segregated schooling in Alaska in response to Roy Peratrovich’s letter requesting a legal explanation of segregated schooling.

Letter from the Attorney General, 1943.
The 1943 legal opinion of the Attorney General of Alaska, Henry Roden, regarding segregation of schooling, page 1 of 19.

 

To read the full opinion and other papers and correspondence concerning Elizabeth and Roy Peratrovich from Governor Ernest Gruening’s papers visit Alaska’s Digital Archives at http://vilda.alaska.edu/cdm/ref/collection/cdmg41/id/973.

Happy Elizabeth Peratrovich Day!

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