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Story49: Voices From the Dream Theater

The Dream Theater on Nome's Front Street back in 1944. Photo courtesy of the Carrie McLain Museum.

We’re traveling back in time to the year 1944 in Nome, a year when 15-year-old Alberta Schenck was jailed for standing up against segregated seating and discrimination at Nome’s Dream Theater.

Her story influenced the passage of the 1945 Anti-Discrimination Act in Alaska, legislation that came nearly 20 years before the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Part Two of Story49‘s Collecting Local Histories series is a collaboration with local resident Barb Amarok, who conducted interviews with Alberta and several elders in 2008 while pursuing her doctorate in indigenous studies from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

This segment includes an interview with Barb about her personal motivations for the research project, as well as audio she collected from Gary Longley, Lucy Trigg, Bill Hoogendorn, John Sahlin, Caroline McLain Reader, and Alberta Schenck.

Listen above to hear this unique, important local history (which first broadcast on August 23rd and 27th, 2015).

“Learning about people from their own community and state helps [students] to realize that they are capable of doing positive things for others,” Barb says. “It also gives them the message that who they are and where they come from is important and that we don’t have to rely on people from other places to help solve our own problems.”

Also: to make it easier for educators to incorporate Alberta’s story into their classroom, KNOM has developed a lesson plan to accompany the audio. Teachers: we invite you to download the Dream Theater Lesson Plan (PDF file) — and to please share how the lesson went in the comments below!

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We acknowledge that KNOM Radio Mission is located on the customary lands of Indigenous peoples. 

Based in the Bering Strait region, KNOM broadcasts throughout the homelands of the Iñupiaq, Siberian Yup’ik, Cup’ik and Yup’ik peoples.