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|DAR member presents program|
Commemorative Events Chairman Toni Rodgers presented the March program on the history of Alaska and Hawaii, and the process of these two becoming part of the United States.
Rodgers' presentation included the following information:
• Through the late 19th and early 20th century Alaska served as an advertisement for American colonialism. A colonial economy developed in which much of the territory's natural wealth was extracted from the region and used else where for the profit of absentee business interests. Alaska served as an extension of the American frontier.
• On March 30, 1867, Secretary of State William H. Seward signed an agreement with the Russian Minister to the United States. "Seward's Folly" ceded possession of the vast territory of Alaska to the US for $7.2 million. The Klondike Gold Rush of 1897- 98 was the first event to garner significant exposure for the great, white North. Between 1890-1900 more than 30,000 people went into the Yukon Territory and Alaska when gold was discovered. Mining, fishing, trapping and mineral production flourished and a true "colonial economy" developed in which outside interests exploited the material resources of Alaska and took the profits elsewhere.
• In 1949 the Alaska Statehood Committee was formed to intensify efforts toward statehood. Americans in favor of this were actor James Cagney, Pearl S. Buck, Reinhold Niebuhr and Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. In January 1958, President Eisenhower fully endorsed Alaska statehood.
• On March 18, 1959, Congress passed legislation allowing the Territory of Hawaii to become a state. On Aug. 21 of that same year, President Dwight D. Eisenhower officially designated Hawaii as the 50th State in the United States of America. Since becoming a state, millions of people have gone to Hawaii to take in the history, culture and beauty of this island state.
• The history and culture of these states are very different but they have now been a part of the United States for 50 years. Mainland U.S.A. has benefited greatly from the additions.
Gwen Clark, regent, conducted the opening ritual. Barbara Gewin, chaplain read the president general's message.
Mary K. Reighney read the national defense report and the minutes of the last meeting. Billie Alderman gave the flag moment.
The Constitution and Indian moments were also given. Gail Collins, school committee chairman introduced Sheryl Jernigan, whose papers have been approved at National and she will be officially installed soon.
Lillian Dunlap and Sue Parker were hostesses.
Those attending were Mary Reighney, Christy Edwards, Gail Collins, Billie Alderman, Barbara Gewin, Delores Gewin, Sheryl Jerrigan, Toni Rodgers, Lillian Dunlap, Mary Sue Mitchell, Jo Bennett and Gwen Clark.