For the Rights of All: Ending Jim Crow in Alaska, a film about the struggle for full recognition by Alaska's Native people, will have its statewide Public Television premiere Tuesday. In Anchorage, it will be carried by KAKM TV (Channel 7) at 8:00 p.m.
The film centers upon the lives, during the time of World War II, of Nome resident Alberta Schenk Adams, and Juneau resident Elizabeth Peratrovich, two iconic figures in the ongoing struggles for civil rights in Alaska. It also contains much documentary material about other aspects of what was a very segregated society here in the 1940s and earlier.
Produced by Jeff Silverman, directed by Phil Lucas, written by Diane Benson and narrated by Peter Coyote, the film is dedicated to Alberta Schenk Adams, who passed away midway through production.
Anyone who doubts that the issues covered in the film continue to be relevant need only read Diane Benson's stirring account of her 2001-2002 battle against institutionalized racism at Anchorage's University of Alaska Anchorage. Printed for the first time in Alaska at Progressive Alaska, on Sunday, Standing Up Against the Giant is a poignant account of Benson's 21st century battle against stereotypical treatment of our First People in institutions of higher learning, and in the media.
It is richly ironic that at the same time Diane Benson was undergoing harassment and indignity over the libels of Indian Girls, she was writing the earliest stage version of what became the core, unifying idea of the remarkable film to be aired here Tuesday.
images - Elizabeth Peratrovich; Diane Benson and Alan Hayton as Elizabeth and Roy Peratrovich