By Leigh Horner
Book review: Fighter in Velvet Gloves: Alaska Civil Rights Hero Elizabeth Peratrovich by Annie Boochever with Roy Peratrovich, Jr.,
On February 16, the Haines School celebrates Elizabeth Peratrovich Day. This annual event honors the achievements of one of the most significant civil rights leaders in Alaska and her courageous efforts to fight for Alaskan Native rights. Our community event is collaboration with the ANS Camp 5 with performances from the Dei Shu Dancers, and student performances. However, students doing research on Elizabeth Peratrovich often come up empty handed. There are books written about her, but not nearly enough at a level for our younger students who are learning about her remarkable work during a time in our history filled with discrimination against Native people.
Fighter in Velvet Gloves: Alaska Civil Rights Hero Elizabeth Peratrovich by Annie Boochever with Roy Peratrovich, Jr., University of Alaska Press/Snowy Owl Books, 2019 will start to fill an enormous void in juvenile Alaskan non-fiction. Annie’s book covers the efforts of Elizabeth Peratrovich and her public testimony before the territorial senate, but it also offers a glimpse into who she was as a person. We learn about who she is as a child, woman, mother and civil rights leader who fought for the rights of all Native Alaskans. This is a book that can be used as a classroom read-aloud or purchased as a class set to teach the efforts of Elizabeth Peratrovich who in 1945 lead to the passage of the Anti-Discrimination Act, the first formal piece of civil rights legislation ever passed in the United States. Having a book that is accessible allows all readers the opportunity to learn the history of Elizabeth and her ability to sit through the senate debate and then choosing her words wisely present to the senate a most remarkable argument against discrimination. Copies can be purchased from the Store at the APK in the Alaska State Museum Building https://www.storeattheapk.com/books and if you mention this article you can receive free shipping.