Anti-Racism In Our National Parks ~ A Panel Discussion

Anti-Racism In Our National Parks ~ A Panel Discussion

Since the earliest days of our national parks Black Americans have played an active part in the preservation of our public land. From Stephen Bishop, a guide at Mammoth Caves before the Civil War, to the Buffalo Soldiers who patrolled Yosemite at the turn of the last century, to Lancelot Jones who advocated for the creation of Biscayne National Park in Florida, people of African descent were part of the notion that set aside special places for the enjoyment of all people. As the naturalist Wallace Stegner once wrote “the National Parks are the best idea we ever had”. And Black Americans were there from the very beginning.

As we celebrate the 104th Anniversary of the National Park Service, we acknowledge the great contributions of Black people who are too often left out when we talk about America’s best idea. In the modern era we work now to correct the disparities of representation through concerted efforts of anti-racism that include a conscientious exploration of our past and an ambitious vision of the future. To commemorate the histroy of Black lives on public land the Joy Trip Project is pleased to host an online panel discussion that aims to explore the enduring legacy of our role in the preservation of the natural environment as well as our national heritage.

Our panelists include:

Independent scholar Dr. Carolyn Finney, Dr. Nina Roberts Professor of recreation and tourism at San Francisco State University, Yosemite National Park Ranger Shelton Johnson, former National Park Director Robert Stanton and Angelou Ezeilo, co-founder of the Greening Youth Foundation.

On August 25, 2020 from 7PM to 8PM Central Time this online forum will put into context the current circumstances of our modern times in which Black Americans are statistically the least likely of all racial or ethnic groups to visit our national parks. We will discuss a few of the root causes of this disparity in visitation as well as likely solutions meant to correct it. Our goal in this exciting conversation will be to offer a broad ranging view on the prospects of a future National Park System that is racially diverse, equitable and inclusive. Can we get there? Tune in and find out.

As part of Black In National Parks Week this event is free and open to public as a Web-Ex video conference provided by the Nelson Institute For Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

To learn a bit about Black history in our national parks read the latest article on the topic in National Geographic written by James Edward Mills

Black In National Parks Week is part of an ongoing movement to elevate the stories from the Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities on public land and in the environmental conservation movement. Learn about about how you can become involved at

This event is supported in part by The Sierra Club , Adidas  and the National Parks Conservation Association and presented in partnership with the UW-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.




You can support this and other initiatives inspired by The Joy Trip Project with a contribution of any amount through Patagonia Action Works

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