JUNE 1, 1928

INUPIAT CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST ALBERTA SCHENCK ADAMS BORN

Born inNome, Alaska, of Inupiat heritage, Alberta was a key player in the passage of Alaska’s Anti-Discrimination Act of 1945.  In 1944, Alberta, then 16, was an usher in Nome’s Dream Theater.  When she opposed theatre policies forbidding Natives and “half-breeds” from sitting in the white section, she was fired.  She first wrote an essay for a city newspaper arguing that such treatment violated the Constitution.  After publication, she went to the theatre with a white Army Sergeant and sat in the white section. When ordered to the Native section, she refused, was forcibly evicted, and taken to the city jail.  After release, she telegrammed Gov. Ernest Gruening with her story.  With his support, the Act became reality.  Her ordeal was used as the “prime example” of discrimination and later memorialized in a PBS Special film, For the Rights of All:  Ending Jim Crow in Alaska.  In 2011, Alberta was inducted into the Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame posthumously.  She died July 6, 2009, in Anaheim, California.

Source: “Albert Daisy Schenck Adams,” Alberta Schenck Adams.  Retrieved 7/2/2019, http://www.albertaschenckadams.com/
Photo:  Alberta Schenck Adams (1928-2009), circa 2008. Courtesy of Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame:  http://alaskawomenshalloffame.org/alumnae/?cn-s=schenck

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