Senate approves bill to recognize black soldiers’ efforts in building Alaska Highway

Historian Lael Morgan said the 10,000 U.S. soldiers who built the Alaska Highway included about 3,500 African-American troops, who mainly worked from Alaska southward into Canada. (Photo by U.S. Army/University of Alaska archives)
Historian Lael Morgan said the 10,000 U.S. soldiers who built the Alaska Highway included about 3,500 African-American troops, who mainly worked from Alaska southward into Canada. (Photo by U.S. Army/University of Alaska archives)

The state Senate today unanimously approved a bill that would make October 25 African American Soldiers’ Contribution to Building the Alaska Highway Day.

The bill now moves to the Alaska House of Representatives.

The bill, introduced by Wasilla Republican David Wilson, was created in conjunction with the 75th anniversary of the construction of the highway.

Wilson said that he feels little recognition has been given to the African-American soldiers who helped to build the highway with the Army Corps of Engineers.

About a third of the soldiers who built the highway were African-American.

In a time of segregation and overt racism, Wilson called the Highway project “one of the first bridges to civil rights.”

Alaska Public Media

Alaska Public Media is our partner station in Anchorage. KTOO collaborates with partners across the state to cover important news and to share stories with our audiences.

Like what you just read? KTOO news stories are member supported. Support your community news source today. Donate to KTOO.
Site notifications
Update notification options
Subscribe to notifications