Alberta Schenck Adams

Although some call her the “Rosa Parks of the Arctic,” Alberta Schenck’s contributions to Native rights in Alaska aren’t well-known. Growing up half-Native in World War II era Nome, Alberta was just a teenager when she began publicly defying those who sought to treat her as a second-class citizen. “If my brothers go into war to fight for us, why can’t we have the same freedoms as everybody else?” questioned Alberta. “I wanted to be ornery and show the whites of Nome that there could be something done.” She crashed an all-white dance at her school. She wrote indignant letters to the Nome Nugget newspaper. And she was arrested for sitting with her white date, an Army Sergeant, in the last two remaining seats of the Dream Theatre, which happened to be in the “Whites Only” section. As a result, she became an early advocate for Native civil rights. After writing to then-Governor Ernest Gruening about the incident at the Dream Theatre, Alberta’s story was told during debate of the Alaska Anti-Discrimination Act, which passed in 1945 – well before the civil rights movement in other parts of the United States.

Getting There

Coordinates
Latitude: 64.49839
Longitude: -165.40303