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Date(s) - 01/28/2018
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Malaprops Bookstore/Cafe

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On January 28, 2018 my husband, Dennis, and I will be appearing at Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café in Asheville to talk about our new book We Fought the Road, released by Epicenter Press in October.

Local authors, we live in Weaverville, NC.  Our cause, though, is the forgotten black soldiers who helped build the Alaska Highway in 1942.

After Pearl Harbor, America’s leaders panicked.  Alaska and the Aleutian Island chain offered a direct path from Japan to North America, and defending Alaska meant getting men, weapons and material there in quantities well beyond the capabilities of air transport or the Navy. 

Desperate for a land route from Montana to Fairbanks, America’s leaders threw a ‘hail mary pass’.  They launched the Corps of Engineers to Canada and Alaska and demanded the impossible–1600 miles of road through some of the most difficult territory in the world. And, by the way, they needed it in 8 months.  The result was the Alaska Highway–the Alcan.

The Corps wanted no part of black soldiers in Canada and Alaska, but they simply didn’t have enough white regiments.  Three of the four regiments launched into the North Country were segregated black regiments. “Hidden Figures” living under the Army’s version of Jim Crow, approximately 3600 young black men, most from southern states, wound up in deep wilderness, isolated from contact with the local population, living in tents with temperatures 30, 40, 60 even 70 below zero.

Today people in the lower 48 think of the Alaska Highway as a tourist destination.  And, God knows, it is a stunning experience.  But very few people know of its origins, of the heroes who suffered and died to build it, and, especially the black heroes.






Dennis McClure


Co-author of We Fought the Road from Epicenter Press


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