50th anniversary of statehood program slated for June 30

Posted: Thursday, June 26, 2008

John H. Venables of Haines will present the premiere showing of the third part of the "Journey to Statehood - Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Alaska Statehood" program at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 30, in the Egan Room at Centennial Hall.

This third part of the "Journey to Statehood" trilogy will feature the persona of E.L. "Bob" Bartlett, "Architect of Alaska Statehood," telling historical stories of the era. Bartlett was Alaska's non-voting delegate to Congress from 1945 to 1959 and its first senior U.S. senator from 1959 to 1968.

The final stages of Alaska's journey to statehood began on June 30, 1958, when the U.S. Senate passed a bill for Alaska to become the 49th state of the Union. The U.S. House of Representatives had passed their bill on May 28, 1958. The Senate bill was forwarded to President Eisenhower and he signed it on July 7, 1958. The official proclamation for Alaska to become the 49th state was signed by Eisenhower on January 3, 1959.

"Journey to Statehood" is a program sponsored by the Alaska Humanities Forum with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Rasmussen Foundation. All the programs have a historical photo slideshow and a discussion question and answer period involving the audience.

The first two parts of the "Journey to Statehood" program were "My Greatest Legacy," featuring the persona of William Henry Seward, and "The Man Who Changed Alaska History and Destiny," involving Judge James Wickersham. These programs, with Venables dressed in period attire, have been presented over 25 times in public meetings and school visits in Juneau, Haines, Skagway, Fairbanks and Delta Junction.

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