Who championed Alaska’s first statehood bill as a congressional delegate for the territory?
James Wickersham (August 24, 1857 – October 24, 1939) was a district judge for Alaska, appointed by U.S. President William McKinley to the Third Judicial District in 1900. He resigned his post in 1908 and was subsequently elected as Alaska’s delegate to Congress, serving until 1917 and then being re-elected in 1930.
He was instrumental in the passage of the Organic Act of 1912, which granted Alaska territorial status, introduced the Alaska Railroad Bill, legislation to establish McKinley Park, and the first Alaska Statehood Bill in 1916. He was among those responsible for the creation of the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines, which later became the University of Alaska. A residence hall on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus is named in his honor.