On Sunday, Oct. 18, the Anchorage chapter of the NAACP wrote to Sitka committee of the Alaska Day festival, criticizing the name of one of the events on the program: the slave auction. Organized by a local bar, the annual fundraiser took place last night.
The slave auction has been held at the Pioneer Bar for over 30 years and as with other activities that take place the weekend of Alaska Day, was listed on the program.
Wenda Laws, the Executive Director of the NAACP in Anchorage, found out about it yesterday morning and issued a press release, calling the event “inflammatory and insensitive.”
“The NAACP is requesting to change the name of that event to something that is more appropriate and not so divisive and offensive. I’m surprised they haven’t been called out on it before. But they are now.”
Mary Magnuson, who has been assisting with the auction and is a former member of the Alaska Day committee, said that there is no malicious intent behind the event.
“I was unhappy that the finger got pointed at my community making it sound like we were a bunch of racists. It made me unhappy. Because we’re not. And I just don’t like it when the political correctness overrides the common sense of the good intent.”
All money raised by the auction – which took place last night – went towards the fire department. Magnuson added that from now on, the event will be called the Alaska Day Auction.