By Caroleine James
Wrangell Sentinel 

Alaskans celebrate Native civil rights advocate Elizabeth Peratrovich

 

February 15, 2023

Amy Lou Blood, of Ordway's; courtesy Alaska State Library - Historical Collections

Alaska Territorial Gov. Ernest Gruening (seated) signs the anti-discrimination act on Feb. 16, 1945, in Juneau, as Elizabeth Peratrovich stands by, along with (from left) Sen. O. D. Cochran, Rep. Edward Anderson, Sen. Norman Walker and her husband, Roy Peratrovich.

On Thursday, Alaskans will celebrate Elizabeth Peratrovich Day to honor the Tlingit civil rights advocate who pushed for the nation's first anti-discrimination law, 19 years before the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. During her lifelong campaign for Native rights, she fought segregation and a majority white territorial Legislature to establish a foundation of legal protections that have benefitted Alaskans since 1945.

Peratrovich was born in segregated Petersburg on July 4, 1911. She was a member of the Tlingit Raven moiety and LukaaX.ádi clan. After her parents placed her in the care of...



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