Coin to mark Alaska’s landmark 1945 civil rights law

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The U.S. Mint has proposed a new $1 coin with designs honoring a landmark anti-discrimination law that passed in territorial Alaska in 1945, years before the U.S. Civil Rights Act.

The Alaska Native woman influential in the law’s passage, Elizabeth Peratrovich, is featured on most of the design options. The new coin, scheduled for release in 2020, is part of a mint program honoring Native Americans.

Peratrovich’s powerful testimony is credited as pivotal in efforts to pass an anti-discrimination law. This was at a time when, according to the Alaska Federation of Natives, many Alaska Natives faced poverty and unemployment due to segregation.

Gov. Bill Walker said it was the first piece of anti-discrimination legislation passed by any state or territory since the Civil War. The U.S. Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964.

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