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Friends of Sheldon Jackson Museum to Host a Presentation on Agnes Young McAlpin, an Inspiring Early 20th Century Haida Woman

by LAM Webmaster on 2022-12-22T16:16:00-09:00 in Events, Sheldon Jackson Museum | 0 Comments

black and white portraitPhoto of a portrait of Agnes McAlpin provided by Marcia Biederman. Ca. early 20th century. The Friends of Sheldon Jackson Museum invite the public to attend the fourth event in its Winter Share Your Culture / Share Your Research Series. Scholar and author Marcia Biederman will give a historical talk on entitled “The Courage of Agnes Young McAlpin: The Forgotten Story of a Haida Woman Who Won a Fight for Her Human Rights" on Zoom on Friday, January 13 at 12 pm.

Biederman will take 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.

To attend the Jan. 13 Zoom talk, visit and input meeting ID: 842 3603 1991 and passcode: Agnes.

The Friends of Sheldon Jackson Museum is dedicated to supporting the Sheldon Jackson Museum and its unique Alaska Native ethnographic collection through advocacy, acquisition, and educational programming. To learn more about the Friends, get involved, or learn more about the many wonderful Winter Share Your Culture/Share Your Research events, visit .

The Sheldon Jackson Museum is currently open Wednesday–Saturday, 10:00 am–4:00 pm. Tuesdays open by appointment only.  Winter admission is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors, and free for ages 18 and under and active duty military and their families (with an ID). Call (907) 747-8981 to confirm hours.

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