Leni Hirsch ’18

The Roosevelt Arch outside the northern entrance to Yellowstone National Park.

Abstract:

Data indicates that the demographics of national park visitors in the United States are not representative of the country’s. Specifically, studies suggest that national park visitors are overwhelmingly white and that African Americans are underrepresented in national parks by at least five percentage points. National Park Service (NPS) administrators have articulated that the current makeup of its visitors is both philosophically and practically problematic. This paper draws evidence from archived personal correspondence between NPS administrators, published and unpublished interviews, newspapers, travel guides and various secondary sources; it evaluates the United States government’s, and the NPS’ more specifically, role in making and maintaining the national parks, some of America’s finest outdoor spaces, as “white spaces.”  While other authors have shown that the Americans outdoors was conceived as a white space or examined the relationship between the NPS and African Americans, few have studied the relationship between race, the American outdoors and the National Park System and Service. This paper argues that, because the NPS does not distinguish between disparities between white and African American representation in national parks and levels of engagement with the entire National Park System, its efforts cannot adequately address both the philosophical and practical problems its homogenous constituency presents. Therefore, even if the NPS’ tactics were to succeed in garnering African Americans’ support for the service its efforts would not necessarily have helped to fully integrate key components of the American outdoors.

 

Introduction

For the past twenty-eight years, Shelton Johnson has worked as a ranger for the National Park Service. One time, when a family drove up to Johnson’s station at Yellowstone National Park’s western entrance, Johnson recalls being startled; the driver had to regain his composure before saying, “You’re the last thing I expected to see at this gate.”[1] Why was this seemingly ordinary event so extraordinary? Because both men were African American.[*]

Yellowstone, where Johnson was stationed, was the first of the United States’ fifty-eight national parks.[2] The NPS defines national parks as “generally large natural places having a wide variety of attributes… [where] hunting, mining and consumptive activities are not authorized.”[3] They have sometimes been called “America’s best idea.”[4] President Ulysses S. Grant established Yellowstone as a national park on March 1, 1872. During the next four decades, his successors recognized some of America’s most stunning outdoor spaces,[†] including Yosemite, Mount Rainier and Crater Lake, as national parks. Until 1916, these parks were managed by the Department of Interior, while the War Department and the Forest Service administered other monuments, natural lands, and historical areas. In 1916, however, Congress passed the Organic Act of 1916, thereby creating the National Park Service (NPS), which serves as a single agency providing “unified management” of various federal lands.[5] In the act, Congress codified the NPS’ dual mission: “…to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such a manner and by such a means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”[6]

One hundred years after the NPS was charged to protect these national jewels for future generations, the national parks welcome more visitors than ever before. In 2015, they received 75,290,221 visitors.[‡] This number is so large in part because there are now fifty-eight national parks,[7] covering over 52 million acres of the American outdoors.[8] But even in Yellowstone, the first national park, the number of visitors has skyrocketed from 5,414 in 1906 to 4,150,217 in 2015.[9]

And yet, the demographics of these visitors are not representative of the country’s. Since 1916, the NPS has come to manage various types of “units,” including, for example, monuments, battlefields, and historic sites, in addition to national parks. Unfortunately, in its statistical reports, the NPS does not distinguish between national parks and the other types of units. Therefore, there is no data on the racial disparities found specifically in national parks as opposed to other types of NPS units found within the “National Park System.” However, if one were to expect that the percentage of African Americans within the general United States’ population would constitute the same percentage of visitors to all NPS units, then, in 2008-09, African Americans were “under-represented” by five percentage points.[10] While 12 percent of the United States’ population is African American, only 7 percent of visitors were. Moreover, all other data indicate that African Americans would be at least as under-represented in the national parks specifically, if not more so, than in other types of NPS units. In 2011, 92 percent of visitors to Shenandoah National Park (located in Virginia, where nearly twenty percent of the population is African American)[11] were white,[§] indicating that African Americans were underrepresented by at least five percentage points, if not more.[12] In 2009, a survey including a random sampling of visitors to Yosemite showed that only one percent of visitors were African American.[13] Additionally, the Forest Service, which has purview over national forests and other outdoor spaces, found that, between fiscal years 2008 and 2012, 95 percent of visitors to their sites were white.[14] In sum, while the National Park Service and System have a “diversity problem,” the national parks may have an even more acute one.

The first African American NPS director, Robert Stanton, who was appointed by President Clinton in 1997, stated after his retirement that it is “philosophically” and “practically” important to act on the observation that the NPS has historically excluded African Americans and, today, attract a disproportionately small number of African American visitors to its sites.[15] In regards to national parks specifically, it is philosophically wrong that public lands, especially ones imbued with cultural significance, appear to serve only a segment of society. Practically, the members of Congress who vote on whether or not to protect outdoor spaces represent an increasingly non-white population. By 2050, less than half of the United States’ population will be white.[16] Stanton pointed out that if this new public does not have positive experiences with the governmental organization that protects the national parks, they will not elect representatives who prioritize preserving them or other outdoor spaces.[17] Stanton perhaps oversimplified the equation by assuming one-issue voters, for instance, but his sentiment stands: these lands require protection and this protection must come from a generation that looks increasingly different from its predecessors.

NPS administrators have recognized its constituency’s homogeneity since the 1960s and have ostensibly taken steps to address it. They have created new NPS units closer to African American populations; made efforts to change the makeup of the NPS workforce; and introduced innovative programs in an effort to improve relations with African American citizens. However, when implementing these policies, the NPS does not distinguish between disparities between white and African American representation in national parks and levels of engagement with the entire National Park System. Therefore, these efforts ultimately are able to address only the NPS’ practical concern for solidifying a base of supporters for the organization without addressing the philosophical problem that the national parks, specifically, and therefore large swaths of the culturally resonant American outdoors, remain “white spaces.” [**]

Methodology/Historiography

In order to show how the NPS reinforced the national parks, and therefore much of the American outdoors, as white spaces in the second half of the 20th century, I first elucidate how the United States and the NPS’ histories established the American outdoors as a white space. I then detail how the national parks remained segregationist and exclusionary even after NPS administrators made efforts to introduce equality into the parks. I go on to explicate how, under the premise of increasing the NPS’ engagement with the African American community during the 1960s and 1970s, the NPS, under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, actually reinforced the national parks as white spaces. Finally, I examine how the policies from the Kennedy and Johnson era have influenced the NPS today. I argue that its current strategies to attract African American visitors continue to address the practical implications of an increasingly diverse American population, but fail to address philosophical qualms about the American outdoors being a white space; they do so because they do not adequately distinguish between the National Park System in its entirety and the national parks within it.

I am not the first to show that the American outdoors and the national parks put in place to protect part of it were conceived as white spaces. Most of the literature, however, either looks at the general outdoors (see Carolyn Finney’s Black Faces; White Spaces[18]) or at the National Park System and/or Service’s relationship with ethnic minorities (see Ken Burns’ documentary, America’s Best Idea: This is America[19]), rather than the relationship between race, the American outdoors, and the National Park System and Service.

This paper does not seek to suggest that the NPS is unique in its exclusion of African Americans, nor conclude that the NPS should be held to a different standard than any other governmental organization. History shows that systematic racism has legacies in many governmental agencies. Nevertheless, my aim is to focus specifically on the NPS and explain the ways in which its programs and policies have directly affected African Americans. Understanding the history of NPS’ relationship with African Americans serves as one possible step, among many, towards building broad-based support for the NPS and more fully integrating the American outdoors.

I will direct a great deal of attention towards the exclusion of African Americans that took place in southern parks in particular. I made this choice in part because racial discrimination was most pronounced in this region. Additionally, the South has been home to the majority of African Americans since the time the NPS was founded. In 1900, 90.1 percent of African Americans lived in the South;[20] in 2010, 55 percent of African Americans lived in the South.[21]

Finally, while I address the economics of visiting national parks, they are not the focus of this paper. Regardless of the impact that economic disparities along racial lines have on national park visitation, my aim is to elucidate the sociocultural factors that influence African Americans’ experience of these key components of the American outdoors.

Conceptions of the American Outdoors

The NPS is not solely responsible for constructing conceptions of the American outdoors, or national parks specifically, as white spaces. In fact, conceptions of the American outdoors have been developing since the Pilgrims left Europe to establish colonies in the “New World.” In his influential text, Wilderness and the American Mind, Roderick Frazier Nash, a professor emeritus of History and Environmental Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, explicates the construction of the American outdoors, though he refers to it as “the wilderness.” He writes that American colonists did not arrive from Europe with an appreciation of the wilderness. The wilderness, and specifically the frontier, presented a formidable challenge to the colonists’ survival; thus, from their perspective, it was not something to be appreciated. In fact, as late as the 18th century, the word “wilderness” had connotations were anything but positive; its synonyms included “deserted,” “savage,” and “waste.”[22]

In just a few generations, however, American views of the outdoors changed drastically. Both William Cronin, a professor of History, Geography, and Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and Nash note that the European Romantic movement of the 18th and 19th centuries had a major influence on American conceptions of outdoor spaces. Romantics, especially urban writers, made a strong case for the appreciation of nature.[23] They had “an enthusiasm for the strange, remote, solitary and mysterious… in regard to nature [they] preferred the wild.”[24] Romantics also valued primitivism. They believed that man’s happiness “decreased in direct proportion to his degree of civilization.”[25] Influential European writers, including Jean-Jacques Rousseau, encouraged civilized men to engage with primitiveness and praised the sublimity of wilderness.[26] Ultimately, the romantics helped the wild shed its “repulsiveness.”[27] Indeed, the wilderness became something to return to rather than something to be avoided.

Ironically, despite the clear influence of European intellectualism on the definition of American outdoors, a major motivation for Americans to embrace them was the need to create a “distinctive culture” that was “uniquely American.”[28] Americans were self-conscious about their nascent country’s “lack of…cultural sophistication.”[29] The country needed something “valuable enough to transform embarrassed provincials into proud and confident citizens.”[30] Because European intellectuals imbued wilderness with value, the United States’ outdoor spaces, unparalleled in the “Old World,” became a source of pride for Americans and their leaders. President Thomas Jefferson, for instance, insisted that the United States was the world’s leader where nature was concerned and was therefore worthy of the world’s respect.[31]

By most accounts, the American outdoors’ defining feature was the western frontier. In 1893, historian Frederick Jackson Turner presented his paradigm-shifting “frontier thesis,” which stated that “the existence of an area of free land, its continuous recession, and the advance of American settlement westward” defined America’s history and culture.[32] Cronon argues that, because of how Turner and his contemporaries framed the “frontier myth,” the outdoors became “the quintessential location for experiencing what it meant to be an American.” [33] He writes that, “to protect wilderness was in a very real sense to protect the nation’s most sacred myth of origin.”[34],[††] For many African Americans, however, the frontier myth is problematic. The slave narrative does not comport with this “myth of origin.”[35]

Not only is the frontier narrative problematic, more problems arise because conceptions of the American outdoors were largely developed by a group of white males who discovered the outdoors and promoted it as an exclusionary space. For example, President Theodore Roosevelt, the “conservationist president,”[36] who greatly expanded the number of national parks, was one of the most prominent in this group. Roosevelt developed his passion for the outdoors through his own experiences in nature. He was a feeble young man plagued by neurasthenia, an ailment characterized by “depression, insomnia, anxiety, and migraines, among other complaints.”[37] Roosevelt’s doctor, Silas Weir Mitchell, treated him with the “West cure,” which involved engaging in “vigorous physical activity out West, and [writing] about the experience.”[38]

But the “West cure” was not intended for every American because not every American was considered capable of developing neurasthenia. Only a “brain-worker” and his “highly evolved wife and children,” could experience the nervous breakdowns characteristic of the ailment. And even women diagnosed with neurasthenia were not sent to the West; they were sent to rest and reacquaint themselves with the domestic sphere.[39] Early in the 19th century, African Americans were not even considered to have the “highly evolved brain and nervous system[s]”[40] necessary to develop the illness.[41] However, the 1840 census found that “insanity” was eleven times more likely for a free African American than an enslaved one.[42] In fact, this statistic was fabricated in order to provide evidence that enslavement was good for African Americans. Inadvertently, though, the statistic also contradicted the long-held assumption that African Americans were not sophisticated enough to have mental illnesses.[43] Still, African Americans did not qualify for the “West cure.” While increased freedom and forays into nature were the remedies for white men and domesticity was the cure for white women, the census’ fictitious statistic suggested that enslavement was the solution for African Americans.

In effect, Roosevelt and many of his early environmentalist contemporaries (including Walt Whitman, for example) discovered the outdoors as a result of a cure, available only to males, for an illness that was considered a “mark of American cultural superiority.”[44] Furthermore, because part of the West cure included writing about one’s experiences, the narratives of this particular demographic “had a major impact on the nation’s culture”[45] and helped to construct notions of outdoor spaces that exclusively reflected the experiences of white, professional men. For example, in 1899, as governor of New York, Roosevelt delivered a speech before the Hamilton Club in Chicago entitled “The Strenuous Life.” Douglas Brinkley, who wrote a well-regarded biography of Roosevelt,[46] interprets this famous speech as saying that “exertion and physical education [were] national imperatives”[47] and that “the hardy American character” could be “replenished by the outdoors life.”[48]

Roosevelt’s “strenuous life doctrine” also applied “the basic tenets of Darwinism to a program for Homo sapiens, in the spirit of Horatio Alger’s fictional stories about self-made men.”[49] Essentially, Roosevelt came to revere wilderness within a cultural context with closer links to “imperialist, xenophobic, and racist features of American nationalism than many Americans would feel comfortable espousing today.”[50] In this context, the American outdoors was a place for white males to assert the dominance of the white, American race. Roosevelt was not alone; many of the early conservationists had motivations for preserving aspects of the western frontier that were implicitly, if not explicitly, racist and/or nationalistic. As Jedidiah Purdy aptly stated in a New Yorker article, “it was an unsettling short step from managing forests to managing the human gene pool.”[51] The early conservationists, including Madison Grant, Robert Fisher and John Muir, did not want to preserve the frontier in the form of national parks just for its own sake; they wanted to preserve the “environment in which earlier—and racially purer—immigrants were believed to have forged American identity.”[52]

Despite the concerning aspects of Roosevelt and his peers’ narratives, Bruce Braun, a professor of geography at the University of Minnesota, points out that they continue to be invoked and revered in modern literature.[51] As a result, the idea of exerting oneself in the outdoors as a defining American experience survived those who originally conceptualized it. For example, in the late 19th century, railroad companies, eager to capitalize on transporting tourists to places like Yellowstone, branded their promotional materials with the phrase “See America First” and images of the national parks.[52] The messaging is clear: do not vacation in Europe; instead, be patriotic and explore the national parks. Themes from this marketing campaign reemerged in the 1930s and 1940s when the Works Project Administration produced some 2,000 posters of the nation’s landmarks with the words “See America” printed on them.[53] The idea that the frontier was for only white Americans also persisted. A map of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, published in 1941, proclaims that the park “presents a unique opportunity to preserve frontier conditions of a century ago” and that “the white population of the region still exhibits the pristine ruggedness and self-sufficiency of the pioneer period shortly after the American Revolution.”[54] These words and images recall and preserve the American outdoors and the national parks in place to protect it as spaces that were created by and for white men of a certain class. They do not necessarily “reflect us at our best rather than our worst,” as Wallace Stegner suggested when he called the national parks “America’s best idea.”

Segregation in the Southern National Parks[‡‡]

 

Due to the fact that the frontier, the defining feature of the American outdoors as conceived in the early 20th century, existed only in the West, the country’s first national parks existed exclusively in the West as well, leaving them out of reach of the majority of African Americans. In 1919, Acadia National Park was founded in Maine,[55] but it would take nearly another two decades before Shenandoah National Park, the first park to be authorized in the southern region, to formally open to the public. [56] The eastern landscape simply did not fit the criteria for outdoor spaces that needed to be protected. In 1918, the Secretary of the Interior, Franklin K. Lane, wrote a letter to the first NPS director, Stephen T. Mather, instructing him that new national parks should contain “scenery of supreme and distinctive quality or some national feature so extraordinary or unique as to be of national interest and importance;” Mather was not to allow the national parks to be “lowered in standard, dignity and prestige” by the inclusion of new lands.[57] Along the same lines, the 1937 “National Park Supplement to Planning and Civic Comment” notes that “while it may be desirable to establish playgrounds according to centers of population and the recreational needs of the communities, it is not possible to select national parks and monuments on that basis.” [58]

Even once the Shenandoah, in Virginia, and the Smoky Mountains, in Tennessee and North Carolina, were identified as natural lands that met the NPS’ standards for national parks, another problem came to the fore that would ultimately influence African Americans’ experience in these national parks: the lands were not public. Originally, Congress had been able to establish new parks by transferring land from one federal agency to another. But if no such public land existed, that method no longer worked. Congress determined that states or private donors would need to assume the costs associated with a new project. In 1926, President Calvin Coolidge signed a bill putting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Shenandoah National Park under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior (and the NPS) as soon as the lands were purchased. As the daily newspaper, the Boston Evening Transcript, put it, “…Uncle Sam will not Buy Them, So the Promoters Pass the Hat.” [59] Ultimately, with the help of philanthropists such as John D. Rockefeller Jr., the states were able to purchase the lands. [60] Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and North Carolina opened in 1935 and 1940, respectively.[61]

The logistics of the two southern parks’ creation caused problems for potential African American visitors. Because the federal government had distanced itself during their establishment by not providing the funds to purchase the land, in the words of then Virginia Senator Harry Byrd, “it was agreed that all laws governing the [states] would be in effect within the Park area[s].”[62] This agreement meant that Shenandoah National Park would be segregated, as was the practice in public spaces in Virginia at the time.[63] From 1932 to 1940, there was an entirely separate facility known as Lewis Mountain intended for African American visitors; it was not fully integrated until 1947.[64] A similar arrangement was made in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Its master plan, drawn up in the late 1930s, indicated that the park would have three “colored” campgrounds. In fact, by the time the campgrounds were built, they were no longer referenced to as “colored,” but they effectively served that purpose.[65] As is usually the case, separate excluded the possibility of equal. Lewis Mountain held only a “tenting area,” not a full camping ground.[66] Additionally, according to the civil rights lawyer Phineas Indritz, Lewis Mountain’s location was “inferior in scenic qualities” to the sites reserved for white visitors in Shenandoah National Park.[67] When considered within the broader context of 20th century American history, it is not surprising that the sites selected for African American usage were not prime locations. While African Americans could now technically reach national parks, once inside the parks, they were withheld the opportunity to experience them in the same way as white visitors.

Segregated facilities were not the only aspect of the national parks’ operating systems that negatively impacted their African American visitors. From the inception of Yellowstone National Park in 1872, it had been the policy of the NPS to rely on private capital to provide and operate facilities such as hotels, lodges, and stores within and around the parks.[68] While the NPS could dictate certain provisions in its contracts, it was dependent on local companies to provide services for a park. Without them, a park could be out of commission for an entire season.[69] In the South, the local companies that operated within Shenandoah National Park, such as the Virginia Sky-Line Company, were accustomed to local practices, including segregation.[70] Therefore, in addition to the campsites being segregated, the other facilities within the two parks, such as lunchrooms and gasoline stations, were also segregated.[71]

Despite the hostile conditions and the troubling origins of the national parks, there was sustained interest in them from many within the African American community. Statistics on exactly how many African Americans visited Shenandoah National Park do not exist; in fact, data on the demographics of NPS’ visitors were not recorded at all until the 1960s.[72] However, in a memorandum to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Secretary of the Interior, Harold Ickes, his Negro Affairs officer (a position created during FDR’s time in office), W.J. Trent, drew the secretary’s attention to the fact that a school teacher in Washington D.C., as well as the Secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, had written to the NPS “protesting against the segregation of and discrimination against Negroes in the use of facilities along the Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park.”[73] Furthermore, Indritz pointed out to Nathan Margold, the NPS’ solicitor, that “requests by Negro tourists for [lunchrooms, gasoline stations, etc.] [had] frequently been refused.” [74] These requests indicate an interest in national parks on the part of the African American community and reaffirms that this period of history was marked by active, rather than passive, exclusion of African American from the national parks.

The requests to which Indritz referred are not the only indicators of interest in the national parks from the African American community. “Green Books” also provide insight into African American interest in visiting national parks during this time. Green Books were travel guides that catered specifically to the African American market, which Victor Hugo Green published between 1936 and 1966. Interestingly, national parks are very present in some editions, but not in others. For example, the 1950 edition has a feature on Mt. Rainier National Park;[75] the 1952 edition contains a list of the national parks and the contact information for their superintendents.[76] In other editions, the national parks are left out entirely. In the 1939[77] and 1956 edition, for example, not a single national park is mentioned.[78] Similarly, a map of the eastern seaboard, published in 1942 by a consortium of African American Newspapers in a similar spirit of the Green Books, does not include Shenandoah or Blue Ridge Mountains national parks, despite the fact that the broader population considered them to be big attractions in the southern states.[79] Ultimately, while not every publication featured the national parks, the parks were presented as options for African American travelers within major African American publications. This fact signifies that lack of interest alone could not possibly explain the dearth of African American faces in the national parks. Rather, other factors deterred potential African American visitors.

Integration in the Southern Parks

Notwithstanding the fact that NPS policy and southern society stipulated that racial segregation be maintained, some within the NPS expressed discomfort with these practices. In fact, a group of progressive New Dealers, including Ickes and Trent, made it their mission to integrate the national parks. Not only did they think doing so was a moral imperative, but Margold had also informed Ickes in 1939 that segregation, as it was being practiced within the parks, constituted “an infringement of constitutional principles.”[80] In 1939, Margold also informed Ickes and Trent that, contrary to what the Virginian senator might have articulated, the federal government and its agencies, including the NPS, were “not bound by either law or customs” of the states in which parks were located.[81]

Despite Margold’s blessing to integrate the parks, Ickes and Trent took a more cautious approach, attempting to integrate them while simultaneously “straddling” southern segregationist policies.[82] As a “step toward” providing “for all citizens,” Ickes made Shenandoah National Park into a test case. He ordered that one large picnic area, “The Pinnacles,” be integrated and that signs that had previously indicated segregation be removed.[83] By adopting this approach, Ickes circumvented the need to introduce new regulations or engage in legal battles, while still taking steps toward integration.[84]

Despite skepticism from others within the organization, the NPS director at the time, Newton B. Drury, integrated all the picnic areas in Shenandoah National Park for the 1941 season.[85] During the same year, it was decided that Great Smoky Mountains would operate under similar premises: areas would not be publicly or officially designated for either race, “thereby encouraging – but not legislating – desegregation in the park.”[86]

By the end of 1942, though, just a year after these policies were put in place, they became moot. Shenandoah’s facilities had been shuttered due to the country’s entry into World War II and visitation to the national parks that remained open, including Great Smoky Mountains, dropped drastically.[87] During the war, many federal government organizations were temporarily integrated, including some of the country’s combat units.[88] When the closed parks re-opened in 1945, Interior officials seized the opportunity to desegregate all of the parks. The Department also issued a general bulletin to all concessioners requiring them to desegregate their facilities.[89] Desegregation in the parks was, in theory, both practically and philosophically beneficial to potential African American visitors. Indeed, it had the potential to end unfair practices within the system, thereby allowing African American visitors to fully experience the parks for the first time and, ideally, become advocates for the NPS for generations to come.

Looking at legislation or official NPS policy, however, is not sufficient to understand the African American experience in the national parks during the 20th century; in reality, integration and the philosophical and practical benefits it presented did not immediately follow the order. First, concessioners posed a major problem for park officials. For example, Virginia Sky-Line Company threatened to pull out of its contract if it could not follow Virginia’s Jim Crow laws within Shenandoah National Park. Without the means to provide the services for which the concessioner was responsible, the NPS was forced to cave to its demands; it ultimately took until 1950 for the NPS and the concessioner to work together to desegregate Shenandoah.[90] Second, the ranger force undermined desegregation efforts. Though nothing as overt has been documented since the 1945 change in policy, an incident after the 1941 order illustrates how the rangers could thwart administrators’ efforts: rangers continued to mark park maps with red pencil to indicate the areas intended for African American visitors, effectively keeping the grounds segregated for months after integration had become park policy.[91] Furthermore, in light of the fact that there was not a single African American ranger and that popular opinion of African Americans was quite poor in the South, it can be reasonably deduced that the rangers did not suddenly become a welcoming force after the 1950 order.[92]

While the ranger force was within the purview of the NPS, other factors that influenced African American experiences with national parks shortly after their official desegregation were not within the NPS’ control. For example, during the trial period in which the Pinnacles was integrated, Oliver G. Taylor, NPS’ Chief Engineer observed that, “some whites kept their distance from African Americans at Pinnacles, while others – when they realized that the picnic area was integrated – simply left.”[93] Even if the NPS made integration a priority, some visitors may have been reluctant to participate in the process given societal conditions at the time.

Additionally, the NPS could not control the conditions a person had to navigate in order to reach the national parks, which may have posed a barrier to entry. While cars had originally been restricted in many of the national parks, by the time Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains were opened, automobiles were the most common way to get to and travel around the parks. This fact was especially true in the southern parks because Blue Ridge Parkway, a national parkway that was considered an attraction in and of itself, connected them.[94] Yet a white motorist and an African American motorist might have had quite different experiences while driving to the two parks. In 1920, WEB Dubois wrote that “The thought of a journey seemed to depress [colored people].”[95] Evidence of the additional stressors African American travelers experienced can be found in the Green Books. The 20th anniversary edition notes that while “The white traveler has had no difficulty getting accommodations… [the Negro has] had to depend on word of mouth, and many times accommodations were not available.”[96] The 1956 edition notes that the books were meant to help African Americans avoid the “embarrassment” that was too often associated with travel. [97] The Green Book’s discontinuation in 1966 did not, of course, indicate the end of discrimination in the United States. As D. Parke Gibson, president of a market research firm specializing in the “negro market,” told the New York Times in 1966, “Whether the discrimination is real or imagined, it is there.”[98] Even if the NPS had full support from its concessioners and employees, it could not have entirely overcome the entrenched values and customs in the areas that surrounded the parks, nor the attitudes or actions of white visitors. Still, these factors unquestionably influenced African American visitors’ experiences.

Post-Segregation Era in the Parks: The 1960s-80s

Despite hindrances, FDR’s administration is credited with officially desegregating the national parks. Nevertheless, FDR’s appointees left a system with a great deal of possibility for improvement with regard to equal opportunity within and access to the national parks. Arguably, the Kennedy and Johnson presidencies were the first administrations to try to promote better access to the NPS and its units for African Americans. However, while many of their efforts appear admirable in their aims and outcomes, they nevertheless had the long-lasting, unintended consequence of reinforcing the national parks as white spaces.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Wilderness Act of 1964, when taken together, are an example of how apparent progress can actually have unintended consequences. President Kennedy laid the groundwork for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and President Johnson signed it into law. The act formally ended segregation in public places and has been called the “crowning legislative achievements of the civil rights movement.”[99] While not directly related to the NPS, the act did address some factors outside the NPS’ purview that influenced African American vacationers, including travel conditions in the South.

The same year that President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, however, he also signed the Wilderness Act. The Wilderness Act gave Congress the ability to label certain lands as “wilderness.”[100] Once put under this designation, a tract of land would be off-limits to commercial ventures. The NPS manages more land under the Wilderness Preservation System than any other land management agency.[101]

In her book Black Faces, White Spaces, Finney, a professor of Geography at the University of Kentucky, argues that when considered together, the Civil Rights and Wilderness Acts had unintended implications for the definition of the American outdoors.  Finney claims that the two pieces of legislation “have influenced how we frame, name and claim issues relating to environment and race… [and provide] some insight into the “disconnect” between the construction of race and the environment in the United States.”[102] At a time when African Americans were making huge progress in their struggle for equality, Congress was simultaneously codifying values put forth by the likes of John Muir, Theodore Roosevelt and their more modern peers, including Howard Zahniser and Colin Fletcher. Furthermore, Finney aptly points out that the Wilderness Act focuses on preserving wilderness areas for “public purposes,” but does not appear to take into consideration the entire American public.[103] For example, the act includes words such as “primitive” that have latent negative meanings for African Americans.[104] Additionally, the legislators did not acknowledge “the underlying structural and systematic inequalities that prohibited ‘all men’ from participating in and actively enjoying the American Wilderness.”[105] The proponents of the act made sure to emphasize that they were not dismissing the values of civilization in the process of advocating for the preservation of wilderness. Rather, they argued that people could benefit “from a temporary return to the primitive.”[106] However, inherent in this “temporary” argument is sentimentality about an earlier time when and place where white Americans were the conquerors, the chosen race.

The Civil Rights Act and the Wilderness Act of 1964 are not the only policies related to the national parks during the Kennedy/Johnson Era that appeared to be a step forward for African Americans, but actually had complicated implications. Behind many of these policies was George Hartzog, who served as director of the NPS between 1964 and 1972. Hartzog is remembered for having steered the NPS during a “period of transition,”[107] as well as being  “one of the most influential and effective directors that the National Park Service ever had.”[108] He defined his “main mission” as taking a “pretty much western oriented organization pretty general white male organization” and “[making] it more relevant to a changing urban population.”[109] Though Hartzog did not frame his initiatives in terms of reaching the “African American” population, “urban” has been “linked with blackness” ever since the 20th century Great Migration, during which six million African Americans moved from the rural south into cities in the northern, midwestern, and western United States.[110]

One of the ways Hartzog attempted to reach such urban populations was to expand the NPS in terms of both the number and, more importantly, the types of parks units[111] Hartzog shepherded the National Historic Preservation Act of 1996 through Congress, which gave the NPS control over the National Register of Historic Places. Additionally, he sought to incorporate a “wider range of historical sights other than battle-grounds and birthplaces.”[112] He endeavored to highlight what “the creative genius of the people who came to [the United States] contributed … ”[113] In doing so, Hartzog oversaw the addition of thirty-four new historical parks.

Hartzog not only added to already existing park categories; he also created an entirely new category: “urban parks” intended to bring “the parks to the people.” Spurred by a report on the lack of accessible outdoor recreation resources and his observation that “millions of young people [were] being reared…completely isolated form their natural and cultural inheritance,” Hartzog pushed for the establishment of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco and the Gateway National Recreation Area in New York City.[114] Conservationists “lined up behind the bill,”[115] but it was met with resistance from President Nixon because the parks’ expensive development ran counter to his “New Federalism”[§§] approach.[116] In 1972, though, with a tight election looming, Nixon reluctantly allowed the two parks to be established in the hopes that they would help him win two crucial states on the electoral map.[117]

Additionally, in his efforts to reach “underrepresented and underserved groups, particularly urban populations, minorities [including African Americans], and young people,”[118] Hartzog introduced innovative programming. For example, he introduced the “Summer in the Parks” program in Washington, DC, which provided entertainment and recreational opportunities for disadvantaged people in the city. As a part of this program, rangers took underprivileged children to fish, ride horses, visit farms, and do arts and crafts around the nation’s capital.[119] Long known as the “Chocolate City,” Washington’s residents were 70 percent African American in 1970.[120] The pictures included within a feature on the program in the April 1969 edition of Trends in Parks and Recreations reflect this fact; all of the children shown in all but two of the photos are African American.[121] These images stand in stark contrast to mid-20th century guidebooks for the national parks, in which a picture of a single African American is difficult to find. By the fall of 1968, “practically everyone” in Washington had heard of the Summer in the Parks program.[122] The pilot program was so successful that Hartzog expanded it to other areas outside of DC, and, in milder climates, introduced it as a year-round program.[123] In addition to Summer in the Parks, Hartzog initiated new environmental education and “living history” programs meant to provide yet another means for the NPS to connect with urban populations.[124]

For Hartzog, the new historical and urban parks also provided an opportunity to increase diversity within the NPS workforce. The NPS was more inclined to take on African American employees who could serve in the historical and urban parks, where Hartzog and others thought they would be more welcomed by the community.[125] In order to attract African Americans to a career in the Service, Hartzog set up different professional pipelines through which African Americans could enter the NPS. He also recruited employees directly from historically black colleges.[126] Finally, Hartzog sought ways to make rangers better equipped to engage with urban populations; he wanted to “turn out a flexible person who can comfortably and effectively work with people of all ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds in an urban setting.”[127] Therefore, though the new recruits “hated it at the time,” Hartzog required that all new park rangers go through an “urban training program.”[128]

Although Hartzog’s actions appear promising, they were not without troubling, unintended consequences: Despite instituting policies meant to make the NPS a more diverse organization and gain support from urban African American voters, his directorate actually reinforced the national parks as white spaces. In a sense, Hartzog’s efforts echoed the disconnect between the Wilderness and Civil Rights Acts of 1964, thereby reinforcing the outdoors as a white space while simultaneously making the NPS as a whole more inclusive. Rather than attempt to bring new people, including African Americans, to the old parks, Hartzog brought “parks to the people,” creating new units targeted at certain segments of society. In fact, some of the conservationists who gave their support for the initiative did so because they saw it as “a way to provide urbanites with a national park experience that did not threaten the wilderness.”[129] Additionally, though NPS employees may have become more diverse on the whole, the national parks’ staff remained homogenous. When Johnson requested a transfer from Yellowstone Park early in his career he assumed a man like himself, infatuated with the great outdoors, would be sent to the likes of Alaska. Instead, as a result of the legacy of Hartzog’s policy, the NPS determined that Johnson, a young African American man from Detroit, Michigan, would be a “perfect fit” for Oxon Cove Park and Oxon Hill Farm, an NPS unit conveniently located outside urban Washington, DC. Johnson reported that he almost resigned because of his placement.[130]

Though Hartzog vehemently insisted that the historical and urban parks that African Amerians were funneled to were on par with the national parks, many people within the NPS saw them as “second tier.”[131] In fact, this hierarchy (with the national parks at the top) began as early as 1933 when FDR restructured the NPS with Executive Order 6166.[132] Johnson believes that the “reorganization made the national park experience much more complicated,” citing the fact that, after the order, trekking in the Alaskan mountains and visiting a historical home fell under a singular institutional umbrella.[133] And Hartzog, like many of his colleagues, implicitly harbored a view, perhaps subconsciously, that the urban parks were of lesser value. When asked what his favorite “park” was, Hartzog said you can “only have a favorite at the moment you’re there.” However, he went on to say that:

“…you get on the airplane and go to the North Cascades and you look there and you say ‘My Lord, this has got to be the last place the Lord put his hand on the earth.’  And then you turn around and fly into Jackson Hole and you go up to Yellowstone and you stand there and look at that geyser basin and that vast plateau and you think “Oh Lord, there’s nothing else like this in the whole world.”[134]

 

Hartzog’s bias toward the national parks, as opposed to the historical parks, for instance, is evident, but not entirely surprising. Terence Young, a professor of Geography at Cal Poly – Pomona commented that, even in 2016, an ambitious NPS employee would be gunning to be superintendent of one of the older national parks; no one is appointed director after managing the Gateway National Recreational Area.[135] Interestingly, Hartzog did advocate for NPS’ emblem, an arrowhead outline with a large sequoia tree, bison, distant lake, and mountains depicted within it, to be changed. He thought the symbol was “outdated” and advocated for three interlocking triangles symbolizing the historical, natural, and recreational to replace it.[136]  However, he received a great deal of pushback from within the Service, as well as from prominent conservationists.[137] To this day, the original emblem, which provides further evidence of the agency’s implicit bias towards wilderness, sublimity and, ultimately, the national parks, remains. Thus, under Hartzog’s tenure, African Americans had increased access to NPS units both as visitors and employees, but not the best ones; not the ones that many believe define American culture; not the national parks; not the outdoors.

Importantly, as director, Hartzog also failed to address, let alone acknowledge, factors outside of the NPS’ direct purview that prevented African Americans from working in or visiting the national parks. Stanton noted that many African American recruits could not follow him out West because the NPS did not provide assistance in transporting them to a park and expected them to purchase uniforms before their first pay check came.[138] By not addressing factors such as cost and transportation, Hartzog’s programs failed to meaningfully promote African American involvement at all levels and across all opportunities within the NPS.

Instead of actualizing his stated hope that the urban parks would serve as “windows”[139] or “bridges”[140] to the national parks, Hartzog’s efforts ultimately helped to maintain the division between the national and urban parks. Hartzog and his service failed to extend a genuine invitation to the African American population, thereby preventing the window or bridge metaphors from becoming a reality. In fact, at the time Hartzog was pushing for new urban parks, it seemed as though the national parks could not welcome any new visitors. In 1972, Secretary of Interior Rogers C.B. Morton complained to Congress that the parks were being “loved” to death by the growing number of visitors.[141] Hartzog echoed his superior and told the press that the NPS needed to “ration the visitors” to the wild spaces national parks contained by instituting “carrying capacities.”[142] If the national parks could barely handle all the white visitors, how could they possibly welcome a whole new cohort of African American visitors?

Ultimately, under Hartzog’s leadership, the NPS attempted to become more inclusive of and responsive to African Americans as a governmental organization. In the process, however, the American outdoors contained within the national parks remained exclusive and elusive to many Americans. One argument in defense of Hartzog’s administration is that, had he had more time in office, he could have made more meaningful progress towards bridging the various types of NPS units. Hartzog’s time in office, however, was unexpectedly cut short in December 1972 when Nixon indicated he would no longer support his appointment due to a personal conflict.[143] Nixon appointed Ronald Walker, a political appointee, rather than an NPS careerist, as Hartzog’s successor. Hartzog recalled that before he had even “cleared the building” Walker began scrapping his programs.[144] He recounted that the environmental education and Summer in the Park programs, for example, “were totally abandoned the year after I left.”[145] One former NPS employee noted that the NPS’ focus on diversity went “swissshhhh… out the door” during the following administrations.[146] Accordingly, Hartzog’s dream of a “whole system of urban parks” also did not come to fruition.[147] Hartzog’s charismatic leadership had managed to push the Service so far, but, without him, it could not continue to advance. As a result, many of Hartzog’s policies not only reinforced the national parks as white spaces, but also failed to institutionalize adequate alternative parks for African Americans, thereby creating yet another poor interaction between the Service and the population it was trying to court.

The 21st Century and African American Involvement in the NPS

 

While some of Hartzog’s policies were thwarted, others had long-term effects and are currently experiencing a second wind of sorts. Though many African American rangers were sent to work in urban parks, Stanton, who had been recruited as a direct result of Hartzog’s efforts, was sent to work in Grand Teton National Park.[148] In 1997, President Bill Clinton appointed him as the NPS’ director, making him the first African American to hold the position. Arguably, Stanton was the first director since Hartzog to focus on the relationship between the NPS and African Americans.[149] The first strategic plan published under his supervision noted the fact that white Americans would be the minority in the next century. The report then explains that “this [change] is an important cultural and social issue because parks have historically been used mainly by the white middle class segment of the population, and many parks do not attract and offer park experiences meaningful to visitors from varied ethnic backgrounds, or have not yet made their park values relevant to them.”[150]

Stanton, however, came into a role that had changed a great deal since Hartzog had held it. After Hartzog, the director’s position experienced a steady decline in power to the point where the Assistant Secretary to the Interior had “taken over.”[151] One colleague of Hartzog’s noted that “Hartzog might be termed the last director of the ‘old’ Park Service.”[152] And, interestingly, Stanton’s individual efforts have not been discussed extensively. Johnson spoke enthusiastically about the difference that Stanton’s presence as an African American in a position in power made, but he could not cite a single program or policy he had changed or created.[153] Nevertheless, Stanton started a dialogue that continued well after his term ended.

In 2003, the NPS followed up on the 1997 strategic plan with “The National Park Service Comprehensive Survey of the American Public: Ethnic and Racial Diversity of National Park System Visitor and Non-Visitors Technical Report.” This survey was conducted in order to answer the question, “Why do members of some ethnic and racial groups [including African Americans] visit the National Park System units less frequently than non-Hispanic white Americans?”[154] The report found that, in 2000, African American visitors were underrepresented by seven percentage points.[155]

While the report never mentions Hartzog by name, his influence is present on the page. Despite the fact that numerous people inside and outside of the NPS distinguish between and rank the various types of units the Service manages, the survey and subsequent report do not differentiate between the types of NPS units. Because of the survey’s methodological limitations, the report lacks the capacity to provide insight as to whether and to what extent the national parks are even whiter than their historical, cultural and urban counterparts, though other analysis suggests they are.[156] Furthermore, they do not make a distinction between the reasons African Americans do not visit a battlefield or urban park versus the reasons they do not patronize one of America’s national parks. As a result, like Hartzog, the survey and report claim to elucidate the NPS’ diversity problem without acknowledging that the national parks may have a unique, perhaps more acute, diversity problem in need of attention. Given the cultural significance that early American leaders placed on the outdoor spaces found in national parks, as well the perceived hierarchy among NPS units, this decision was a large oversight.

The oversight allowed the NPS to follow Hartzog’s lead and craft solutions focused on certain types of units, primarily urban and day-use parks including historical sites. The 2003 report focuses on the fact that 71 percent of African American non-visitors cited the expense of costs like hotels and food and 67 percent cited the distance necessary to travel as reasons as to why they did not visit NPS units.[157] The report concludes that, due to these barriers that are not “within the ability of the NPS to correct,” outreach programs and innovative interpretive themes within day-use and parks in urban areas “would seem to hold particular promise at promoting the relevance of the National Park System and increasing visitation by under-served populations.”[158] The report then endorses a strategy first conceived by Hartzog: bringing the parks to the people through new programming. Like Hartzog’s strategies, though, this tactic could mend the NPS’ relationship with African Americans without necessarily integrating them into the outdoor spaces that comprise the national parks.

In fact, in the 2003 report, white non-visitors cited cost and distance as barriers to visiting NPS units almost as frequently as their African American counterparts (62 percent versus 71 percent and 61 percent versus 67 percent respectively).[159] Therefore, while economic factors clearly have some impact and should not be ignored completely, they are unable to fully explain the difference in visiting practices between African American and white people. Furthermore, NPS suggests in a later report that non-visitors perceive the costs as prohibitive, but once they visit, they may find that the cost is not as high as they expected. Thus, sociocultural factors must also be examined and addressed. For instance, the largest disparity between white and African American non-visitors in the 2003 study actually appeared to revolve around their treatment and experience once inside the park units. While 29 percent, 6 percent, and 6 percent of white non-visitors agreed that there was a “lack of information once inside parks,” “employees give poor service,” and “units are uncomfortable places to be” respectively, 46 percent, 20 percent, and 21 percent African American respondents agreed with the same statements.[160] This statistic suggests that one persistent issue is that potential new African American visitors face challenges in discovering their options for exploring the national parks, perhaps because they don’t perceive rangers as receptive to their needs. Although the advent of the Internet allows people to independently access information about the parks, rangers remain important liaisons between park visitors and the NPS. Another issue is that the NPS units are not perceived as comfortable places for African Americans. While these sociocultural factors are noted in the discussion of the report, they are not examined at length and the recommendations included within the report’s conclusion do not address them. Instead, the NPS draws conclusions that allow it, knowingly or unknowingly, to focus on units other than national parks, without addressing the inequality that exists in the outdoor spaces.

Five years into the approach outlined in the 2003 study, progress remained elusive. In the 2008-09 follow-up report, African American under-representation had dropped by two points, so few that “chance variation between the two samples [could not] be ruled out.”[161] Even if a third survey revealed an emerging trend, the results would not be definitively meaningful; because the NPS’ surveys do not distinguish between the types of units, there would remain the possibility that African American visitation had increased in only urban or historical parks. This finding would indicate that the NPS, as a governmental organization, had increased its inclusivity. However, it would leave the possibility that America’s treasured outdoor spaces would remain the domain of its white citizens. This result would show that the NPS had solved its practical problem: it would have accrued a larger base of support from potential African American voters. However, it would not have solved the philosophical issue that a large portion of the American outdoors, despite being heralded by so many as an integral part of American culture, remains inaccessible to many Americans.

Despite the tepid results of the 2008-09 survey, President Barack Obama’s administration has pushed ahead with an agenda largely in line with the recommendations from the 2003 study and Hartzog’s efforts. Notably, the conversation about the NPS’ current trajectory now revolves around the president’s office, rather than the NPS director’s, because the nature of both positions has changed so much since Hartzog’s time in office. Obama will leave office having designated more public lands and waters than any other president. Many of those public lands are home to national monuments that “reflect the diverse stories of Americans.” The Stonewall Inn, for example, has special significance to the LGBTQ community, while outdoor spaces like the San Miguel Mountains in Los Angeles, California have historically attracted minority populations.[162] Like Hartzog, Obama has tried to make the NPS more inclusive by creating new units, rather than focusing on changing the perception of older ones. Furthermore, many of those units are historical in nature, making them second-class additions in many people’s eyes. Even new ones that incorporate outdoor spaces, such as the San Miguel Mountains, are not given the “national park” designation because Obama placed these lands under NPS’ purview using executive powers.[163] In order to establish them as national parks, he would have had to get congressional approval. The result is that, yet again, additions to the NPS targeted at non-white visitors are comparatively less valuable.

Obama has also pursued some strategies that diverge from Hartzog’s previous practices. For example, he introduced the “Every Kid in a Park” program, which gives any fourth grader and their family free entrance to a park managed by the NPS (as well as any other federal lands or waters managed by other agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management or the Forest Service). This program addresses, in part, the economic barriers that visiting a national park can pose and serves as an open invitation to young people and their families. Significantly, it does so without attempting to funnel certain people to certain parks.[164]

Some individual national parks have also pursued programs that try to bring minorities to the national parks, rather than creating new units closer to minorities. For example, some national parks have entered partnerships with local urban schools, “providing field trips and student outings to the park.”[165] Some have even appointed specific rangers to engage in outreach with a particular school and work with “student liaisons to the park.”[166]

Perhaps what distinguishes Obama’s era most from that of Hartzog’s, or any other NPS director, is the amount of attention being paid to the NPS. A great deal of this attention is the result of the fact that the NPS celebrated its centennial in August 2016. Though the 2003 and 2008-09 NPS reports garnered almost no media attention when they were originally released, dozens of articles cited them in the years immediately leading up to this momentous anniversary. The impetus for these publications, however, is not as important as their content. Although a lot of them reference the surveys, very few note that the NPS’ study does not distinguish between national parks and other NPS units. And yet, the articles are evidently about the national parks specifically. For example, in a New York Times opinion editorial that cites the 2008-09 study, Mount Rainier is the only NPS unit mentioned.[167] Because writers do not recognize that the NPS’ surveys conflate all of the organization’s units, the NPS could be credited with fixing its diversity problem without necessarily addressing the diversity problem specifically within the outdoor spaces it protects. If the NPS observes an increase in African American representation in its next survey (assuming it uses the same methodology), writers could mistakenly declare its programs a success, despite the fact that the NPS’ quintessential outdoor spaces, the national parks, would still cater primarily to white Americans.

Conclusion

 

If current strategies, which largely focus on creating new spaces rather than altering preexisting ones, do not fix both the NPS’ and the American outdoors’ diversity problem, what is the path forward? Are a “post-racial” park service and American outdoors possible? Recently, Johnson aptly noted that the hardest problems to fix are the “invisible ones.”[168] Recognizing that two distinct problems exist and considering each of them and their relationship to each other is the first step towards effectively addressing both of them.

Already, a number of non-governmental groups are doing admirable work to address these issues. “Outdoor Afro” and Earthwise Production Inc. disseminate information about the national parks.[169],[170] They also issue an invitation to African Americans to visit national parks and participate in outdoor activities. Johnson noted that issuing invitations to under-represented populations is a critical piece of the puzzle. He stated that, “If you come from a background of exclusion rather than inclusion you don’t automatically [recognize] that this land is for me.”[171]

Johnson also has written a book entitled Gloryland in order to tell the story of the Buffalo Soldiers, “the African American Army regiments that served as precursors to park rangers at the turn of the 20th century.”[172] Johnson believes this story underscores the “historic, spiritual and cultural link between African Americans and the national parks” and “has the power to coax dislocated communities of color back to… national parks.”[173]

However, given the other important aspects of society and governmental organizations that have not been fully integrated, why devote attention to the NPS and the national parks specifically? First, to attempt to skirt, downplay or reduce the historical importance of outdoor spaces, and particularly the national parks, in American history and culture could prove to be harder than opening these spaces to African Americans. Second, outdoor spaces are distinctive in the benefits they bestows upon their visitors. They have been proven to provide relief from stress, depression, anxiety, and other behavioral disorders, such as Attention Deficit Disorder.[174] Finally, the importance of cultivating a generation of an increasing number of non-white voters who feel connected to the American outdoors and are devoted to its protection has become an imperative for the modern conservationist movement. While historical and urban sites are important and have their place in society, the outdoors is a unique space in need of preservation.

If, after genuine efforts by the NPS to include them, African Americans simply decided against recreating in the national parks, that would be one thing. However, there is evidence that demand from African Americans for participation in the national parks has not been met in the past. Furthermore, there have not been adequate efforts to address the fact that African Americans have been excluded from the national parks. It is only by considering the role of early conceptions of the outdoors in the United States, as well as that of 20th century legal segregation movements and Hartzog’s directorate, that we can begin to understand and address the longstanding exclusion of African Americans from America’s outdoor spaces. Thus, efforts that address only the practical implications of the NPS having a homogeneous base of support will never be sufficient.  The agency must confront the philosophical problems that emerge when national important outdoor spaces remain predominantly white.

 

View Fullscreen

 

References

 

Afro-American Newspapers. Afro American Travel Map. Baltimore: Afro-American Newspapers, 1942.

 

Blaszak, Marcia. Trends in Visitation to the National Park System. § Subcommittee on

National Parks, House Committee on Resources (2006). https://www.doi.gov/ocl/nps-visitation-trends.

 

Blotkamp, A., B. Meldrum, W. Morse, and S. J. Hollenhorst. “Yosemite National Park visitor Study Summer 2009.” Park Studies Unit, Visitor Services Project Report 215 (2010). accessed November 23, 2016. https://www.nps.gov/yose/learn/nature/upload/Visitor-Use-Summer-2009-Study.pdf.

 

Blue Ridge National Heritage Area. “Blue Ridge Parkway.” Accessed October 31, 2016, http://www.blueridgeheritage.com/attractions-destinations/blue-ridge-parkway

 

Braun, Bruce. “On the raggedy edge of risk”: Articulations of race and nature after biology.” Race, nature, and the politics of difference (2003): 175-203.

 

Brinkley, Douglas. The Wilderness Warrior : Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America. 1st Harper Perennial ed. New York: Harper Perennial, 2010.

 

Burns, Ken. The National Parks America’s Best Idea: This Is America, 2009. http://www.pbs.org/nationalparks/about/this-is-america/.

 

Byrne, Jason, and Jennifer Wolch. “Nature, race, and parks: past research and future directions for geographic research.” Progress in Human Geography (2009).

 

Cahn, Robert. Environment editor of The Christian Science Monitor. “Hartzog Leaves Legacy of Goals for Parks.” The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current File), Dec 23, 1972. http://search.proquest.com.ezpprod1.hul.harvard.edu/docview/511402231?accountid=11311.

 

Cahn, Robert. Environment editor of The Christian Science Monitor. “Park Unit Awaits ‘Invasion’.” The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current File), February 19, 1966. http://search.proquest.com.ezpprod1.hul.harvard.edu/docview/510823687?accountid=11311.

 

Campbell, Brad. “The making ofAmerican’: race and nation in neurasthenic discourse.” History of psychiatry 18, no. 2 (2007): 157-178.

 

Chamberlain, Allen. “Twenty Million Dollars for Two National Parks.” Boston Evening Transcript. December 19, 1925.

 

Chien, Irene. “Urban for Black.” Global Urban Humanities at UC Berkeley, September 24, 2013. http://globalurbanhumanities.berkeley.edu/blog/blog-irene-chien-urban-for-black.

 

CNN. “Minorities Expected to Be Majority in 2050.” August 13, 2008. Accessed November 23, 2016. http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/08/13/census.minorities/.

 

Colby, Sandra L., and Jennifer M. Ortman. “Projections of the Size and Composition of the US Population: 2014 to 2060.” US Census Bureau, Ed(2015): 25-1143.

 

Cronon, William. “The Trouble with Wilderness; Or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature.” Environmental History 1, no. 1 (1996): 7-28.

 

“Designations of National Park System Units.” NPS. Accessed March 24, 2017. https://www.nps.gov/goga/planyourvisit/designations.htm.

 

“Discrimination and Negro Tourists.” New York Times (1923-Current File), Oct 23, 1966. http://search.proquest.com.ezpprod1.hul.harvard.edu/docview/116942548?accountid=11311.

 

Du Bois, William Edward Burghardt. Darkwater: Voices from within the Veil. Courier Corporation, 1920.

 

Earthwise Productions. “Earthwise Productions.” Accessed November 15, 2016. http://earthwiseproductionsinc.com/

 

Everhart, William C. and and George B. Hartzog. Interview by Kathy Mengak. March 23, 1996. Transcript.

 

Everhart, William C. and George B. Hartzog. Phone interview by Kathy Mengak, August 10, 1996, Transcript.

 

Everhart, Willaim C. and George B. Hartzog. Interview by Kathy Mengak. June 8, 1999. Transcript.

 

Everhart, Willaim C. and George B. Hartzog. Interview by Kathy Mengak. July 28, 1999. Transcript.

 

Everhart, Willaim C. and George B. Hartzog. Phone interview with Kathy Mengak. January 20, 2005. Transcript.

 

Everhart, Willaim C. and George B. Hartzog. Interview by Kathy Mengak. September 1, 2006. Transcript.

 

Everhart, Willaim C. and George B. Hartzog. Interview by Kathy Mengak. February 2, 2007. Transcript.

 

Everhart, William C. The National Park Service. Westview Press, 1983.

 

Fact Sheet: President Obama Designates National Monument in Maine’s North Woods in Honor   of the Centennial of the National Park Service.” Press Release. The White House Office of the Press Secretary, August 24, 2016. https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/08/24/fact-sheet-president-obama-designates-national-monument-maines-north.

 

Finney, Carolyn. Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors. 2014.

 

“Great Smoky Mountains National Park.” United States Department of the Interior, 1941.

 

Hagood, Reginald (Flip). Taped phone interview by Kathy Mengak. August 31, 2000. Transcript.

 

Hartzog Jr, George B. Battling for the national parks. Moyer Bell Limited, 1993.

 

Hartzog Jr, George B. By Janet A. McDonnell. McLean, VA: Department of the Interior, NPS, 2005. https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/director/hartzog.pdf, 63.

 

History Channel. “Civil Rights Act.” Accessed November 1, 2016. http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/civil-rights-act.

 

Johnson, Shelton (NPS Ranger). In discussion with the author. November 16, 2016.

 

Kellog, Alex, “D.C., Long ‘Chocolate City,’ Becoming More Vanilla.” Morning Edition, NPR. February 15, 2011.

 

Elizabeth Kolbert. “50 Years of Wilderness.” National Geographic, September 2014. http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2014/09/wilderness-act/kolbert-text.

 

Lammi, Elmer. “The Price of ‘Loving our Parks to Death’.” The Washington Post, Times Herald (1959-1973), Jun 04, 1972. http://search.proquest.com.ezpprod1.hul.harvard.edu/docview/148388690?accountid=11311.

 

Lane, Franklin. “Secretary Lane’s Letter on National Park Management.” May 13, 1918. https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/anps/anps_1j.htm.

 

Library of Congress. “NAACP: A Century in the Fight for Freedom.” Accessed October 30, 2016. https://www.loc.gov/exhibits/naacp/world-war-ii-and-the-post-war-years.html.

 

Library of Congress. “Posters: WPA Posters.” Accessed November 17, 2016. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/wpapos/.

 

Maloney, Thomas N. “African Americans in the Twentieth Century.” Economic History. EH.net. January 14, 2002. Accessed November 23, 2016. https://eh.net/encyclopedia/african-americans-in-the-twentieth-century/.

 

Manni, Mark F., Wayde Morse, Yen Le, and Steven J. Hollenhorst. “Shenandoah National Park Visitor Study Summer and Fall 2011.” NPS. October, 2012. accessed November 24, 2016. https://irma.nps.gov/DataStore/DownloadFile/461667.

 

“Memorandum to Secretary Harold Ickes from Solicitor Nathan Margold.” January 17, 1939. William J. Trent Papers. Moorland-Spingarn Research Center. Howard University. Washington, DC.

 

“Memorandum to Secretary Harold Ickes from W.J. Trent,” February 24. 1940. William J. Trent Papers. Moorland-Spingarn Research Center. Howard University. Washington, DC.

 

“Memorandum to Solicitor Nathan Margold from Phineas Indritz.” January 12, 1939. William J. Trent Papers. Moorland-Spingarn Research Center. Howard University. Washington, DC.

 

Mengak, Kathy. Reshaping Our National Parks and Their Guardians: The Legacy of George B. Hartzog Jr. UNM Press, 2012.

 

Merrill, Anthony French. Our Eastern Playgrounds; a Guide to the National and State Parks and Forests of Our Eastern Seaboard. New York: Whittlesey House, 1950.

 

Mott, Emily. “Mind the Gap: How to Promote Racial Diversity among National Park Vistors.” Vt. J. Envtl. L. 17 (2015): 443.

 

Nash, Roderick Frazier. Wilderness and the American Mind : Fifth Edition. Yale University Press.

 

National Geographic. “Acadia National Park.” Accessed October 30, 2016. http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/national-parks/acadia-national-park/.

 

National Geographic. “Shenandoah National Park.” Accessed October 30, 2016. http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/national-parks/shenandoah-national-park/.

 

National Park Supplement to Planning and Civic Comment.1936.

 

NPS. “Annual Park Ranking Report for Recreation Visits in 2010 (Park Type: National Park).” Accessed October 24, 2016. https://irma.nps.gov/Stats/SSRSReports/National%20Reports/Annual%20Park%

20Ranking%20Report%20(1979%20-%20Last%20Calendar%20Year).

 

NPS. “Great Smoky Mountains.” Accessed October 30, 2016. https://www.nps.gov/grsm/learn/historyculture/stories.htm.

 

NPS. “History.” Accessed November 23, 2016. https://www.nps.gov/aboutus/history.htm

 

NPS. “Theodore Roosevelt and Conservation.” Accessed October 24, 2016. https://www.nps.gov/thro/learn/historyculture/theodore-roosevelt-and-conservation.htm.

 

NPS. “Yosemite NP Annual Park Recreation Visitation.” Accessed October 23, 2016.

https://irma.nps.gov/Stats/SSRSReports/Park%20Specific%20Reports/Annual%20Park%20Recreation%20Visitation2 (190420-%20Last%20Calendar%20Year)?Park=YOSE.

 

Nelson, Glenn. “How Shelton Johnson Became the Buffalo Soldiers’ Champion.” High Country News. July 28, 2016. Accessed November 23, 2016. http://www.hcn.org/articles/from-detroit-to-yosemite-the-journey-of-shelton-johnson-champion-of-the-buffalo-soldiers.

 

Nelson, Glenn. “Why Are Our Parks so White?” New York Times, July 10, 2015, sec. Opinion. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/12/opinion/sunday/diversify-our-national-parks.html?_r=0.

 

Organic Act. Title 16, sec. 1, 1916. https://www.nps.gov/mora/learn/management/upload/ORGANIC-ACT.pdf.

 

Outdoor Afro. “About us.” Accessed November 15, 2016. http://www.outdoorafro.com/about/.

 

Phaldo. Yellow Stone North. Photograph. Accessed December 4, 2016. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Yellowstonenorth.jpg.

 

“President Obama Designates San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.” Press Release. The White House Office of the Press Secretary, October 10, 2014. https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press office/2014/10/10/president-obama-designates-san-gabriel-mountains-national-monument.

 

Public Broadcasting Company. “The Railways, the National Parks and the ‘See America First’ Campaign.” The National Parks America’s Best Idea, 2009. http://www.pbs.org/nationalparks/history/ep3/3/.

 

Purdy, Jedidiah. “Environmentalism’s Racist History.” The New Yorker, August 13, 2015. http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/environmentalisms-racist-history.

 

Rastogi, Sonia, Tallese Johnson, Elizabeth Hoeffel and Malcolm Drewery Jr. The black population: 2010. US Department of Commerce. Economics and Statistics Administration, US Census Bureau. 2011. Accessed November 23, 2016. http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-06.pdf.

 

Rosen, Jonathan. “Natural Man.” The New York Times, August 6, 2009, sec. Sunday Book Review. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/09/books/review/Rosen-t.html.

 

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division, The New York Public Library. “The Negro Motorist Green Book: 1939” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 24, 2017. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/911d3420-83da-0132-687a-58d385a7b928

 

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division, The New York Public Library. “The Negro Motorist Green Book: 1950” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed October 31, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/283a7180-87c6-0132-13e6-58d385a7b928#/?uuid=288f9b40-87c6-0132-0441-58d385a7b928

 

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division, The New York Public Library. “The Negro Motorist Green Book: 1952.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed October 31, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/42c15a10-92c7-0132-cf89-58d385a7b928#/?uuid=4347c210-92c7-0132-6d7f-58d385a7b928

 

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division, The New York Public Library. “The Negro Motorist Green Book: 1956” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed October 31, 2016. http://digital.tcl.sc.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/greenbook/id/88

 

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division, The New York Public Library. “The Negro Travelers’ Green Book: Fall 1956.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed October 31, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/9c454830-83b9-0132-d56a-58d385a7b928

 

Shumaker, Susan. “Untold stories from America’s national parks.” Segregation in the National Parks 1 (2009): 15-35.

 

Solop, Frederick, Kristi Hagen, and David Ostergren. “Ethnic and Racial Diversity of National Park System Visitors and Non- Visitors Technical Report.” NPS, December 2003. https://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/docs/archive/EthnicAndRacialDiversity.pdf.

 

Stanton, Robert. “National Park Service Strategic Plan.” NPS. 1997.

http://npshistory.com/publications/nps-strategic-plan-1997.pdf.

 

Stanton, Robert. By Janet A. McDonnell. Washington, DC: Department of the Interior, NPS, 2005. https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/director/stanton.pdf.

 

Stegner, Wallace, 1983 as quoted in NPS. “Famous Quotes Concerning the National Parks.” Last modified January 16, 2003. Accessed November 23, 2016. https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/hisnps/NPSThinking/famousquotes.htm

 

Stiles, Anne. “Go Rest, Young Man.” American Psychological Association 43, no. No. 1 (January 2012): 32.

 

“Summary of Acreage,” National Park Service, December 31, 2015, https://irma.nps.gov/Stats/FileDownload/1226.

 

Taylor, Patrcia A., Burke D. Grandjean, and James H. Gramann. “National Park Service comprehensive survey of the American public 2008–2009: Racial and ethnic diversity of national park system visitors and non-visitors.” NPS. July 2011. Accessed November 23, 2016. https://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/docs/CompSurvey2008_2009RaceEthnicity.pdf.

 

“The NPS and Wilderness.” NPS. Accessed March 24, 2017. https://www.nps.gov/articles/npshistory-wilderness.htm.

 

Turner, Frederick Jackson. The Significance of the Frontier in American History. Western Americana, Frontier History of the Trans-Mississippi West, 1550-1900 Reel 543, No. 5458. 1894.

 

United States. National Park Service. Employee Handbook : Basic Information for All Employees. National Park Service In-service Training Series. Washington, D. C.]: Service, 1955, 12.

 

USDA Forest Service. “National Visitor Use Monitoring Results (FY 2008-10).” Accessed October 24. 2016, http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/nvum/2012%20National_Summary_Report_061413.pdf.

 

US Census Bureau. “Quick Facts.” Accessed October 24, 2016. https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/00.

 

US Government. “Every Kid in a Park General Information.” September 2016. Accessed November 23, 2016. https://www.everykidinapark.gov/about/.

 

“Virginia Quick Facts.” United States Census Bureau. 2015. Accessed March 24, 2017. https://www.nps.gov/goga/planyourvisit/designations.htm.

 

Wright, Russel. “Summer in the Parks.” Trends in Parks & Recreation, April 1969.

 

Young, Terence (Professor of Geography, Cal Poly – Pomona). In discussion with the author. November 9, 2016.

 

Young, Terence. “‘A Contradiction in Democratic Government’: WJ Trent, Jr., and the Struggle to Desegregate National Park Campgrounds.” Environmental History 14, no. 4 (2009): 651-682.

 

[*] In this paper, I will refer to “black” Americans as African Americans. The NPS uses this terminology, and, for the sake of consistency, I have chosen to reflect its language.

[†]“ Outdoor spaces” can be defined in many ways. Some people may consider New York City’s Central Park as an

“outdoor space” or part of “the American outdoors;” others would argue that the American outdoors refers only to the backcountry, miles away from a rural town, let alone a city. For this paper, I define American “outdoor spaces” as the national parks and other natural environments that do not have the official title of national park, but are similarly removed from civilization and accommodating towards typical “outdoor activities” (e.g. hiking, picnicking, camping and swimming). In crafting this definition, I took inspiration from Roderick Frazier Nash’s definition of “wilderness” in his book Wilderness and the American Mind. He defines wilderness relative to civilization referring to a “spectrum of conditions or environments ranging from the purely wild on the one end to the purely civilized on the other” (6). Thus, all national parks, as well as outdoor spaces as I have defined them, would be classified as wilderness to some degree. I chose to use the word “outdoors”, as opposed to “wilderness,” however, because, as Nash acknowledges, the word “wilderness” carries some negative connotations that the “outdoors” does not. For example, for a Christian, wilderness may be symbolic of moral chaos (3). Additionally, Nash notes that the “usual dictionary sense” of the word “implies hostility on man’s part” (4).

[‡] The NPS does not track the number of individual visitors; it uses the number of total visits as a proxy for this data. Therefore, if a person visits Yellowstone in June and July of the same year, he will be counted twice.

[§] For the purpose of this paper “white” is to mean “non-Hispanic white.”

[**] In a 2014 article entitled “The White Space,” Elijah Anderson, a sociology professor at Yale University, defines “white spaces” as “settings in which black people are typically absent, not expected, or marginalized when present.”

[††] In “The Trouble with Wilderness: A Response” published in volume 1 of Environmental History (1996), Cronon admitted that his article “struck a nerve” with many readers and had garnered some sharp critiques from those inside the environmentalist movement. Nevertheless, it has shaped dialogue on this subject for decades.

[‡‡] In this section, and the one that follows, I cite extensively from materials from Howard University’s archive on W.J. Trent. I would not have been able to locate these papers if it were not for Professor Young’s paper “‘A Contradiction in Democratic Government’: WJ Trent, Jr., and the Struggle to Desegregate National Park Campgrounds.” Environmental History 14, no. 4 (2009): 651-682. It provided a jumping off point for these sections, providing me with much of my background information.

[§§] In 1969, Nixon called for a ‘New Federalism” in which money and power would be directed away from the federal bureaucracy and towards states and local governments.

[1] Glenn Nelson, “How Shelton Johnson Became the Buffalo Soldiers’ Champion,” High Country News, July 28, 2016, accessed November 23, 2016, http://www.hcn.org/articles/from-detroit-to-yosemite-the-journey-of-shelton-johnson-champion-of-the-buffalo-soldiers.

[2] “Annual Park Ranking Report for Recreation Visits in 2010 (Park Type: National Park),” NPS, Accessed October 24, 2016, https://irma.nps.gov/Stats/SSRSReports/National%20Reports/Annual%20Park% 20Ranking%20Report%20(1979%20-%20Last%20Calendar%20Year).

[3] “Designations of National Park System Units,” NPS, accessed March 24, 2017, https://www.nps.gov/goga/planyourvisit/designations.htm.

[4] Wallace Stegner, 1983 as quoted in “Famous Quotes Concerning the National Parks,” NPS, Last modified January 16, 2003, accessed November 23, 2016, https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/hisnps/NPSThinking/famousquotes.htm

[5] “History,” NPS, accessed November 23, 2016,  https://www.nps.gov/aboutus/history.htm.

[6] Organic Act. Title 16, sec. 1, 1916. https://www.nps.gov/mora/learn/management/upload/ORGANIC-ACT.pdf.

[7] “Annual Park Ranking Report for Recreation Visits in 2010 (Park Type: National Park),” NPS, Accessed October 24, 2016, https://irma.nps.gov/Stats/SSRSReports/National%20Reports/Annual%20Park%

20Ranking%20Report%20(1979%20-%20Last%20Calendar%20Year).

[8] “Summary of Acreage,” National Park Service, December 31, 2015.

https://irma.nps.gov/Stats/FileDownload/1226.

[9] “Yosemite NP Annual Park Recreation Visitation,” NPS, Accessed October 23, 2016,

https://irma.nps.gov/Stats/SSRSReports/Park%20Specific%20Reports/Annual%20Park%20Recreation%20Visitati

n%20(1904

20-%20Last%20Calendar%20Year)?Park=YOSE.

[10] Patrcia A. Taylor, Burke D. Grandjean, and James H. Gramann, “National Park Service comprehensive survey of the American public 2008–2009: Racial and ethnic diversity of national park system visitors and non-visitors,” The NPS, July 2011, accessed November 23, 2016, https://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/docs/CompSurvey2008_2009RaceEthnicity.pdf, 10.

[11] “Virginia Quick Facts,” United States Census Bureau, 2015, accessed March 24, 2017, https://www.nps.gov/goga/planyourvisit/designations.htm.

[12] Marc F. Manni, Wayde Morse, Yen Le, and Steven J. Hollenhorst. “Shenandoah National Park Visitor Study Summer and Fall 2011.” NPS, October, 2012, accessed November 24, 2016, https://irma.nps.gov/DataStore/DownloadFile/461667, vii.

[13] Blotkamp, A., B. Meldrum, W. Morse, and S. J. Hollenhorst, “Yosemite National Park visitor Study Summer 2009,” Park Studies Unit, Visitor Services Project Report 215 (2010), accessed November 23, 2016, https://www.nps.gov/yose/learn/nature/upload/Visitor-Use-Summer-2009-Study.pdf, 14.

[14] “National Visitor Use Monitoring Results (FY 2008-10),” USDA Forest Service, accessed October 24, 2016,

http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/nvum/2012%20National_Summary_Report_061413.pdf, 8.

[15] Robert Stanton, interview by Janet A. McDonnell, Washington, DC: Department of the Interior, National Park System, 2005, https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/director/stanton.pdf, 73.

[16] “Minorities Expected to Be Majority in 2050,” CNN, August 13, 2008, accessed November 23, 2016, http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/08/13/census.minorities/.

[17] Robert Stanton, interview by Janet A. McDonnell, Washington, DC: Department of the Interior, National Park System, 2005, https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/director/stanton.pdf, 73.

[18] Carolyn Finney, Black Faces, White Spaces : Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors, (2014).

[19] Ken Burns, The National Parks America’s Best Idea: This Is America, 2009,

http://www.pbs.org/nationalparks/about/this-is-america/.

[20] Thomas N. Maloney, “African Americans in the Twentieth Century,” Economic History, EH.net, January 14, 2002, accessed November 23, 2016, https://eh.net/encyclopedia/african-americans-in-the-twentieth-century/.

[21] Sonya Rastogi et al., The black population: 2010. US Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, US Census Bureau, 2011, accessed November 23, 2016, http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-06.pdf, 7.

[22] William Cronin, “The trouble with wilderness: or, getting back to the wrong nature,” Environmental History 1, no. 1 (1996): 8.

[23] Roderick Frazier Nash, Wilderness and the American Mind: Fifth Edition, (Yale University Press). 44.

[24] Ibid., 47.

[25] Ibid., 47.

[26] Ibid., 49.

[27] Ibid., 44.

[28] Ibid., 67.

[29] Deni Cosgrove, “Habitable earth: Wilderness, empire, and race in America,” Wild ideas (1995): 35, as quoted in Jason Byrne and Jennifer Wolch, “Nature, race, and parks: past research and future directions for geographic research,” Progress in Human Geography (2009), 747.

[30] Nash, Wilderness and the American Mind, 67.

[31] Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia (New York, 1964), 17 as quoted in Nash, Wilderness and the American mind, 68.

[32] Frederick Jackson Turner, The Significance of the Frontier in American History. Western Americana, Frontier History of the Trans-Mississippi West, 1550-1900 Reel 543, No. 5458. 1894, 2.

[33] Cronon, “The trouble with wilderness: or getting back to the wrong nature,” 13.

[34] Ibid., 13.

[35] Cronon, “The trouble with wilderness: or getting back to the wrong nature,” 18.

[36] “Theodore Roosevelt and Conservation,” NPS, accessed October 24, 2016, https://www.nps.gov/thro/learn/historyculture/theodore-roosevelt-and-conservation.htm.

[37] Anne Stiles, “Go Rest, Young Man,” American Psychological Association 43, no. No. 1 (January 2012): 32.

[38] Ibid., 32.

[39] Ibid., 32.

[40] Ibid., 32.

[41] Brad Campbell, “The making of American’: race and nation in neurasthenic discourse,” History of Psychiatry 18, no. 2 (2007): 170.

[42] Ibid., 170.

[43] Stiles, “Go Rest, Young Man,” 32.

[44] Ibid., 32.

[45] Ibid., 32.

[46] Jonathan Rosen, “Natural Man,” The New York Times, August 6, 2009, sec. Sunday Book Review,

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/09/books/review/Rosen-t.html.

[47] Douglas Brinkley, The Wilderness Warrior : Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America, 1st Harper Perennial ed. New York: Harper Perennial, 2010, 350.

[48] Ibid., 371.

[49] Ibid., 350.

[50] Denis Cosgrove, “Habitable earth: Wilderness, empire, and race in America.” Wild ideas (1995): 36.

[51] Jedidiah Purdy, “Environmentalism’s Racist History,” New Yorker, August 13, 2015.

http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/environmentalisms-racist-history.

[52] Cosgrove as quoted in Byrne and Wolch. “Nature, race, and parks,” 11.

[53] Bruce Braun, “On the raggedy edge of risk: Articulations of race and nature after biology.” Race, nature, and the politics of difference (2003): 197.

[54] “The Railways, the National Parks and the ‘See America First’ Campaign,” Public Broadcasting Company, The

National Parks America’s Best Idea, 2009. http://www.pbs.org/nationalparks/history/ep3/3/.

[55] “Posters: WPA Posters,” Library of Congress, accessed November 17, 2016, http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/wpapos/.

[56] “Great Smoky Mountains National Park,” United States Department of the Interior, 1941, “Mountaineer Culture

in the Great Smokies.”

[57] “Acadia National Park,” National Geographic, accessed October 30, 2016, http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/national-parks/acadia-national-park/.

[58] “Shenandoah National Park,” National Geographic, accessed October 30, 2016, http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/national-parks/shenandoah-national-park/.

[59] Franklin Lane, “Secretary Lane’s Letter on National Park Management,” May 13, 1918,

https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/anps/anps_1j.htm.

[60] National Park Supplement to Planning and Civic Comment.1936, 8.

[61] Allen Chamberlain, “Twenty Million Dollars for Two National Parks,” Boston Evening Transcript, December 19, 1925.

[62] George B. Hartzog Jr., Battling for the national parks, Moyer Bell Limited, 1993, 197.

[63] “Great Smoky Mountains,” NPS, accessed October 30, 2016, https://www.nps.gov/grsm/learn/historyculture/stories.htm.

[64] Byrd as quoted in Robinson as quoted in Susan Shumaker, “Untold stories from America’s national parks Segregation in the National Parks” 1 (2009): 31.

[65] Shumaker, “Untold Stories,” 29.

[66] Ibid., 24

[67] Ibid., 32.

[68] Anthony French Merrill, Our Eastern Playgrounds; a Guide to the National and State Parks and Forests of Our Eastern Seaboard (New York: Whittlesey House, 1950), 224.

[69] “Memorandum to Solicitor Nathan Margold from Phineas Indritz,” January 12, 1939, William J. Trent Papers, Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University, Washington, DC.

[70] United States. National Park Service. Employee Handbook : Basic Information for All Employees. National Park Service In-service Training Series. Washington, D. C.]: Service, 1955, 12.

[71] Shumaker, “Untold Stories,” 32.

[72] Ibid., 32.

[73] “Memorandum to Solicitor Nathan Margold from Phineas Indritz,” January 12, 1939.

[74] Marcia Blaszak. Trends in Visitation to the National Park System, § Subcommittee on National Parks, House Committee on Resources (2006). https://www.doi.gov/ocl/nps-visitation-trends.

[75] “Memorandum to Secretary Ickes from W.J. Trent,” February 24, 1940, William J. Trent Papers, Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University, Washington, DC.

[76] “Memorandum to Solicitor Nathan Margold from Phineas Indritz,” January 12, 1939.

[77] “The Negro Motorist Green Book: 1950,” New York Public Library Digital Collections, accessed October 31, 2016, http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/283a7180-87c6-0132-13e6-58d385a7b928#/?uuid=288f9b40-87c6-0132-0441-58d385a7b928, 7.

[78] “The Negro Motorist Green Book: 1952,” New York Public Library Digital Collections, accessed October 31, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/42c15a10-92c7-0132-cf89-58d385a7b928#/?uuid=4347c210-92c7- 0132-6d7f-58d385a7b928, 2-4.

[79] “The Negro Motorist Green Book: 1939,” New York Public Library Digital Collections, accessed March 24, https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/911d3420-83da-0132-687a-58d385a7b928.

[80] “The Negro Motorist Green Book: 1956,” New York Public Library Digital Collections, accessed October 31, 2016. http://digital.tcl.sc.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/greenbook/id/88.

[81] Afro-American Newspapers. Afro American Travel Map. Baltimore: Afro-American Newspapers, 1942.

[82] “Memorandum to Secretary Harold Ickes from Solicitor Nathan Margold,” January 17, 1939, William J. Trent Papers, Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University, Washington, DC, 1.

[83] Ibid., 2.

[84] Shumaker, “Untold Stories,” 29.

[85] Ibid., 29.

[86] Ibid., 29.

[87] Shumaker, “Untold Stories,” 31.

[88] Ibid., 33.

[89] Ibid., 31.

[90] “NAACP: A Century in the Fight for Freedom,” Library of Congress, accessed October 30, 2016,  https://www.loc.gov/exhibits/naacp/world-war-ii-and-the-post-war-years.html.

[91] Shumaker, “Untold Stories,” 31.

[92] Ibid., 32.

[93] Ibid., 30.

[94] Robert Stanton, interview by Janet A. McDonnell, Washington, DC: Department of the Interior, National Park System, 2005, https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/director/stanton.pdf, 5.

[95] Robinson as quoted in Shumaker, “Untold Stories,” 31

[96] “Blue Ridge Parkway,” Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, accessed October 31, 2016, http://www.blueridgeheritage.com/attractions-destinations/blue-ridge-parkway

[97] William Dubois, Darkwater: Voices from within the Veil (Courier Corporation: 1920), 228.

[98] “The Negro Travelers’ Green Book: Fall 1956,” The New York Public Library Digital Collections, accessed October 31, 2016, http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/9c454830-83b9-0132-d56a-58d385a7b928, 3.

[99] Ibid., 3.

[100] “Discrimination and Negro Tourists.” New York Times (1923-Current File), Oct 23, 1966. http://search.proquest.com.ezp-prod1.hul.harvard.edu/docview/116942548?accountid=11311.

[101] “Civil Rights Act,” The History Channel, accessed November 1, 2016, http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/civil-rights-act.

[102] Elizabeth Kolbert, “50 Years of Wilderness,” National Geographic, September 2014, http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2014/09/wilderness-act/kolbert-text.

[103] “The NPS and Wilderness,” NPS, accessed March 24, 2017, https://www.nps.gov/articles/npshistory-wilderness.htm.

[104] Finney, Black Faces, White Spaces, 44.

[105] Ibid., 47.

[106] Ibid., 47.

[107] Ibid., 47.

[108] Nash, Wilderness and the American Mind, 247.

[109] Ibid., vii.

[110] Ibid., x.

[111] William C. Everhart and George B. Hartzog, interview by Kathy Mengak, February 2, 2007, transcript, 600.

[112] Irine Chien, “Urban for Black,” Global Urban Humanities at UC Berkeley, September 24, 2013, http://globalurbanhumanities.berkeley.edu/blog/blog-irene-chien-urban-for-black.

[113] Mengak, Reshaping Our National Parks, 91.

[114] Robert Cahn, “Park Unit Awaits ‘Invasion’,” The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current File), Feb 19, 1966.

[115] William C. Everhart and George B. Hartzog, phone interview by Kathy Mengak, August 10, 1996, transcript, 162.

[116] “House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, To Provide for the Establishment of the Gateway National Seashore in the States of New York and New Jersey, and for Other Purposes” as quoted in Mengak, Reshaping Our National Parks, 205.

[117] William C. Everhart, The National Park Service (Westview Press, 1983), 70.

[118] Mengak, Reshaping Our National Parks, 227.

[119] Ibid., 227.

[120] George B. Hartzog, interview by Janet A. McDonnell, McLean, VA: Department of the Interior, NPS, 2005, https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/director/stanton.pdf, xii.

[121] Mengak, Reshaping Our National Parks, 223.

[122] Alex Kellog, “D.C., Long ‘Chocolate City,’ Becoming More Vanilla,” Morning Edition, NPR. February 15, 2011.

[123] Russel Wright, “Summer in the Parks,” Trends in Parks & Recreation, April 1969.

[124] NPS as quoted in Mengak, Reshaping Our National Parks, 233.

[125] Mengak, Reshaping Our National Parks, 183.

[126] Ibid., 236.

[127] William C. Everhart and George B. Hartzog, interview by Kathy Mengak, June 8, 1999, transcript, 371, 279.

[128] Ibid., 371, 350.

[129] James Hansen to Hartzog as quoted in Mengak, Reshaping Our National Parks, 242.

[130] Mengak, Reshaping Our National Parks, 242.

[131] Everhart, The National Park Service, 70.

[132] Shelton Johnson (NPS Ranger), in discussion with the author, November 16, 2016.

[133] Reginald (Flip) Hagood, phone interview by Kathy Mengak, August 31, 2000, transcript, 12.

[134] Terence Young (Professor of Geography, Cal Poly – Pomona), in discussion with the author, November 9, 2016.

[135] Shelton Johnson (NPS Ranger), in discussion with the author, November 16, 2016.

[136] William C. Everhart and George B. Hartzog, interview by Kathy Mengak, March 23, 1996, transcript, 58.

[137] Terence Young (Professor of Geography, Cal Poly – Pomona), in discussion with the author, November 9, 2016.

[138] William C. Everhart and George B. Hartzog, interview by Kathy Mengak, September 1, 2006, transcript, 575-6.

[137] Ibid., 575-6.

[138] Robert Stanton, interview by Janet A. McDonnell, Washington, DC: Department of the Interior, National Park System, 2005, https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/director/stanton.pdf, 7.

[139] Mengak, Reshaping Our National Parks, 256.

[140] Reginald (Flip) Hagood, phone interview by Kathy Mengak, August 31, 2000, transcript, 11.

[141] Elmer Lammi, “The Price of ‘Loving our Parks to Death,” The Washington Post, Times Herald (1959-1973), Jun 04, 1972. http://search.proquest.com.ezpprod1.hul.harvard.edu/docview/148388690?accountid=11311.

[142] Robert Cahn, “Hartzog Leaves Legacy of Goals for Parks,” The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current File), Dec 23, 1972.

[143] George B. Hartzog, interview by Janet A. McDonnell, McLean, VA: Department of the Interior, NPS, 2005, https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/director/hartzog.pdf, 63.

[144] William C. Everhart and George B. Hartzog, interview by Kathy Mengak, June 8, 1999, transcript, 355.

[145] William C. Everhart and George B. Hartzog, phone interview by Kathy Mengak, January 20, 2005, transcript, 456.

[146] Reginald (Flip) Hagood, phone interview by Kathy Mengak, August 31, 2000, transcript, 5.

[147] Mengak, Reshaping Our National Parks, 256.

[148] William C. Everhart and George B. Hartzog, interview by Kathy Mengak, June 8, 1999, transcript, 350.

[149] Reginald (Flip) Hagood, phone interview by Kathy Mengak, August 31, 2000, transcript, 5.

[150] Robert Stanton, “National Park Service Strategic Plan,” National Park Service, 1997,

http://npshistory.com/publications/nps-strategic-plan-1997.pdf, 55.

[151] William C. Everhart and George B. Hartzog, Interview by Kathy Mengak, July 28, 1999, transcript, 397.

[152] Everhart, The National Park Service, 150.

[153] Shelton Johnson (NPS Ranger), in discussion with the author, November 16, 2016.

[154] Frederick Solop, Kristi Hagen, and David Ostergren, “Ethnic and Racial Diversity of National Park System

Visitors and Non- Visitors Technical Report,” NPS, December 2003,

https://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/docs/archive/EthnicAndRacialDiversity.pdf, 4.

[155] Taylor, Grandjean, and Gramann, “Comprehensive Survey,” 10.

[156] Ibid., 10.

[157] Solop, Hagen and Ostergren, “Comprehensive Survey,” 7.

[158] Ibid., 9.

[159] Ibid., 7.

[160] Ibid., 7.

[161] Taylor, Grandjean, and Gramann., “Comprehensive Survey,” 7.

[162] “Fact Sheet: President Obama Designates National Monument in Maine’s North Woods in Honor of the

Centennial of the National Park Service.” Press Release. The White House Office of the Press Secretary, August 24,

  1. https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/08/24/fact-sheet-president-obama-designates-national

monument-maines-north.

[163] “President Obama Designates San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.” Press Release. The White House Office of the Press Secretary, October 10, 2014. https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press office/2014/10/10/president obama-designates-san-gabriel-mountains-national-monument.

[164] “Every Kid in a Park General Information,” US Government, September 2016, accessed November 23, 2016, https://www.everykidinapark.gov/about/.

[165] Emily Mott, “Mind the Gap: How to Promote Racial Diversity among National Park Visitors.” Vt. J. Envtl. L. 17 (2015): 465.

[166] Ibid., 466.

[167] Glenn Nelson, “Why Are Our Parks so White?” New York Times, July 10, 2015, sec. Opinion. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/12/opinion/sunday/diversify-our-national-parks.html?_r=0.

[168] Shelton Johnson (NPS Ranger), in discussion with the author, November 16, 2016.

[169] “About us.” Outdoor Afro, accessed November 15, 2016, http://www.outdoorafro.com/about/

[170] Earthwise Productions. “Earthwise Productions.” Accessed November 15, 2016. http://earthwiseproductionsinc.com/

[171] Shelton Johnson (NPS Ranger), in discussion with the author, November 16, 2016.

[172] Nelson, “How Shelton Johnson became the Buffalo Soldiers’ Champion.”

[173] Ibid.

[174] Ibid., 420.

Comments:

NO COMMENTS

LEAVE A REPLY