Senate passes bill to recognize Black soldiers’ efforts in building Alaska Highway

Historian Lael Morgan said the 10,000 U.S. soldiers who built the Alaska Highway included about 3,500 African-American troops, who mainly worked from Alaska southward into Canada. (Photo: U.S. Army/University of Alaska archives)

The state Senate today (March 6) unanimously passed a bill that would make October 25th African American Soldiers’ Contribution to Building the Alaska Highway Day.

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The bill, introduced by Wasilla Republican David Wilson, was created in conjunction with the 75th anniversary of the construction of the highway.

Wilson said that he feels little recognition has been given to the African American soldiers who helped to build the highway with the Army Corps of Engineers.

About a third of the soldiers who built the highway were African American.

In a time of segregation and overt racism, Wilson called the Highway project “one of the first bridges to civil rights.”

The bill has now moved to the Alaska House of Representatives.

Wesley Early covers Anchorage life and city politics for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at and follow him on X at @wesley_early. Read more about Wesley here.

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