The Constitutional Convention and Statehood

Alaska experienced major growth and change in the 1940s and 1950s, fueled largely by the territory’s militarization during World War II and the onset of the Cold War. Territorial status left many of the of new residents, like Vic Fischer, indignant. A diverse and growing number of Alaskans, from career politicians and bureaucrats to shopkeepers and missionaries in the bush, joined the statehood movement that culminated in 1959. Fifty-five delegates from across the territory met in Fairbanks during a frigid winter in 1955. They wrote a state constitution from scratch and charted a course to turn Alaska into the 49th state. In this episode, eight key figures from state history will describe how it all came together. In later episodes, they’ll share personal stories and talk individually about how their lives intersected with history.