As part of the Share Your Culture/Share Your Research Winter Series, biographer and journalist Marcia Biederman (non-Native) will give a Zoom-only historical talk entitled “The Courage of Agnes Young McAlpin: The Forgotten Story of a Haida Woman Who Won a Fight for Her Human Rights.” To attend, visit https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84236031991?pwd=YnBrOGtYb09FYUIvc0w3cG5nNWtOdz09 and input meeting ID: 842 3603 1991 and passcode: Agnes.
Join us for this event as Biederman takes us back to 1906, at a time when people fought for seats in a Pennsylvania courtroom to hear a young Haida woman tell of years of mistreatment at the hands of her white husband and in-laws. Originally from Kasaan, Agnes Young was 17 when a white dentist named Kenneth McAlpin married her in Wrangell. A year later, with Agnes pregnant, the couple returned to Kenneth’s home. Horrified by the interracial marriage, his mother and sister banished Agnes to a barren attic while Kenneth got a luxuriously furnished room.
Hidden from visitors and forced to eat separately, Agnes thought of suicide. Instead, she developed a plan to free herself and her children from this intolerable situation. Using photos and excerpts from news accounts, Marcia Biederman will explain how Agnes won a highly publicized divorce trial, ensuring a future for her descendants in Alaska, and prompting a small Pennsylvania city to examine its commitment to civil rights.