Exhibition recalls triumphs, struggles of Alaska’s Black community
April 23, 2021
Black Lives in Alaska: Journey, Justice, Joy
On view at the Anchorage Museum April 30 – Nov. 2021
ANCHORAGE, ALASKA – April 23, 2021 – A new exhibition opening at the Anchorage Museum Friday, April 30, offers a look at the history of Black lives in Alaska as told through archival photographs and collected materials. The exhibition, Black Lives in Alaska: Journey, Justice, Joy, showcases the richness and resilience of Alaska’s Black communities.
Generations before statehood and earlier even than the Klondike gold rush of the 1890s, Black men and women arrived in Alaska and have since participated in politics, economic development and culture. They patrolled the seas, built the roads, served in the military and public life, opened businesses, fought injustice, created art and forged communities.
“I’m interested in the history of Black people in Alaska and in helping to educate students and others about this history,” says community historian and activist Cal Williams. “I especially want to help African American students learn about what their community has contributed.” Williams is featured in The HistoryMakers, the nation’s largest database of African American video and oral histories, and is working with the Anchorage Museum to gather stories of the Black community to help create within the museum’s archives a more inclusive record of Anchorage’s history.
Virtual Tour of the Black Lives in Alaska: Journey, Justice, Joy
Community members Celeste Hodge Growden, Jovell Rennie, Tasha Webster and Cal Williams present a virtual walk-through of the exhibition and discuss their involvement in shaping the exhibition and related programming.