Terrence M. Cole’s book “Fighting for the Forty-Ninth Star: C.W. Snedden and the Crusade for Alaska Statehood” tells the story of how C.W. “Bill” Snedden, the long-time publisher of the Fairbanks Daily News Miner, used a small town newspaper to champion the fight for statehood.
One of the most fascinating parts of the book is the role played by the late Sen. Ted Stevens in convincing Congress that the federal commitment process used in Alaska was barbaric. Stevens, a protégé of Snedden, was a young lawyer working for the U.S. Department of Justice. Stevens related his experience with the criminal proceedings (jury trials) that were used to commit adults and children to Morningside. He told the Congressional sub-committee that the insanity jury system was “archaic” and that he had “a very great respect for juries, but not insanity.”
Dr. Cole directs the UAF Office of Public History and is a Professor of History at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Dr. Cole kindly granted us permission to reproduce the section of the book dealing with Morningside and the Alaska Mental Health Act.
If you’d like to read more of “Fighting for the Forty-Ninth Star: C.W. Snedden and the Crusade for Alaska Statehood” you can purchase it here.