March 21 - Women’s History Month Profile: Thelma Buchholdt

In 1974, Thelma Buchholdt became the first Filipino American legislator in the United States. Born in Clavaria, Cagayan, Philippines, she came to the United States when she was 15. Buchholdt pursed a teaching career, but also became closely involved as a leader in the civil rights movement during the late 1950s and early 1960s. In the late 1960s, she moved to Alaska and found a new home there. Buchholdt helped to establish the Boys and Girls Clubs of Alaska and was active through the March of Dimes and the League of Women Voters. When she became involved in politics, she was elected as the first woman president of the Filipino Community of Anchorage for two consecutive terms in 1973. The following year, she was elected to the Alaska House of Representatives, the first Filipino American to do so. After politics, Buchholdt became an advocate for equal opportunity and established herself as a historian about the Filipino diaspora in Alaska. Not only did she write history, but she also made history.