The Alaska Highway Project Team has worked over the past six years to research and share stories of the nearly 5,000 black soldiers who helped build the ALCAN highway. In 1942, in less than nine months,
these “colored regiments” proved their competence as construction engineers building the “First Road to Civil Rights”. Their outstanding efforts on the Alaska Highway helped lead to the desegregation of the
United States Military in 1948.
The Alaska Highway Project has worked to recognize these accomplishments by supporting the passing of Senate Bill 46, an act establishing October 25th as African-American Soldiers Contribution to Building the Alaska Highway Day. For the Alaska Studies Curriculum, an Alaska Highway History was crafted to ensure that students have the opportunity to learn about the soldiers’ work on the highway. The Team also brought 97 year old soldier Leonard Larkins back to Alaska for the 75th Anniversary Celebration. A Readers’ Theater Performance was created to dramatize some of the soldiers’ experiences working on the highway. Plans are underway to build a memorial sculpture to the black engineers titled “A View From the Mountain Top”, and to develop a display for the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture.
The Alaska Highway Project Team:
Jean Pollard, Chair, Retired Educator
Jim Dault, Project Manager & Memorial Sculptor
Shala Dobson, Secretary, Sculptor, Retired Educator
Andrew Knoll, Tech support social media, Educator
Honorary Team Members:
Lael Morgan, Journalist, Author, Historian, Professor, Publisher
Katie Ringsmuth, Professor – UAA, Author, President – AK Historical Society
Pamela Orme, Retired Social Studies Coordinator - ASD