Alberta Schenck Adams was an Alaska Native woman from Nome who proved to be an early warrior for Alaska civil rights. One day in 1944 when she was 16 years old, she was fired from working as an usher in Nome’s Dream Theatre after expressing her opposition to Jim Crow policies that forbade Alaska Native people and “Half-Breeds” from sitting in the “Whites Only” section.
Soon thereafter, she penned an essay about equality to The Nome Nugget. Shortly after the publication of her essay, she went on a date with a Caucasian Army Sergeant to the same theatre and took a seat next to him. The manager ordered her to move to the Alaska Native section of the theatre. After refusing, she was forcibly evicted and arrested.
After her arrest, she wrote a letter describing her experience to then-governor Ernest Gruening, who proceeded to push the Alaska Discrimination Act of 1945 through the Alaska Legislature a full 19 years before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted by the U.S. Congress. BSNC honors Alberta for her early fight for our civil rights!