Guidebook to African American History in the National Parks

Kurt Repanshek, National Parks Traveler, September 22, 2011

Are national parks relevant to African Americans? A new guidebook from Eastern National answers that question with a definitive “YES!” as it traces their ties to the parks.

Released to coincide with the dedication of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C., the 68-page Guidebook To African American History in the National Parks ($7.95) traces African American history in the parks from Adams National Historical Park to The National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.

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For instance, how many immediately associate John Adams, the country’s second president, with slaves? But, as the guidebook points out, when he drafted the constitution for the state of Massachusetts Mr. Adams included the phrase that “all men are born free and equal.”

His wife, Abigal Adams, “successfully fought for the right of her black servant’s son to attend the local school,” the text also notes.

At Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas, the guidebook notes, “When Jim Crow laws were enacted after Reconstruction ended, African Americans were permitted to work in the bathhouses on Bathhouse Row at Hot Springs Reservation, now a national park. However, they were not permitted to patronize them.”

There’s even a page on the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, which runs along the Atlantic coast from North Carolina south to Florida. “It is home to one of America’s unique cultures, a tradition first shaped by captive Africans brought to the southern United States from West Africa and continued in later generations by their descendants.”

{snip}

Interspersed among these individual stories are somewhat longer features on such topics as the Buffalo Soldiers, segregation of the Civilian Conservation Corps, and African American soldiers in the Civil War.

“The parks and monuments contained here represent the legacy of the African American experience,” Director Jarvis notes in his introduction. “Their role in telling this story is so prominent–so powerful–that they have been included among those places that we preserve for all time.”

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  • Dance

    As with galleries and museums, one doesn’t see many blacks in National Parks. So they are nice places to go.

  • Steve

    Why in the world would we want black Americans to go into our national parks? Not only do they seem disinclined to do so (They be snakes in dem parks!), but they trash every environment they inhabit or occupy. Every time, without exception.

  • olewhitelady

    The fact is, of course, that the vast majority of American blacks are interested in rap music and hip-hop culture, not the history of their ethnic group in the U.S. Moreover, urban blacks have little or no interest in leaving the cities and view rural areas as threatening.

  • Anonymous

    For instance, how many immediately associate John Adams, the country’s second president, with slaves? But, as the guidebook points out, when he drafted the constitution for the state of Massachusetts Mr. Adams included the phrase that “all men are born free and equal.”

    His wife, Abigal Adams, “successfully fought for the right of her black servant’s son to attend the local school,” the text also notes.

    ——————————————–

    Thanks alot John Adams and a “special” thank you to Abigail, your wife. (sarcasm) Guess our traitors have been around for a long time in this country.

    As for that statement that ALL men are born free and equal is a farce. Think about it? Are we Whites free and equal in our country of today? How can ALL peoples (the world) be born free and equal? There is no such animal. That is like saying ALL men/ALL races are good and moral and have the same IQ and genetics.

  • Rhialto

    Problem extracted from a macmatics quiz:

    Four quarts of Colt45 cost about the same as a book about blacks not goin’ to National Parks, how many blacks will buy the book?

    a- 0

    b- 0, but a few might steal it.

    c- Use it to bash the cashiers head in and rob the register

    d- Burn the book store

  • Epiales

    Obviously, this book is an attempt to get more black people to visit parks. Only 1% of National Parks visitors are black, and our government seems to think this is a problem. The government, of course, is wrong.

    The 1% number is a blessing! Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Glacier National Park are open everyday of the year, 24 hours a day. I’m sure other parks are also open continuously. If blacks start arriving in large numbers, the rules will have to change. We will need more park rangers, detention facilities, curfews, etc.

    We simply cannot keep of thousands of sparsely patrolled acres safe if large numbers of black people arrive. As with all of our city plazas, the park rules were designed with white people in mind. Just like cities have had to change the rules when blacks decided to join the fun, the National Parks will have to change the rules too. Soon, bears and snakes won’t be the most dangerous animals in the park.

  • Madison Grant

    Does the pandering never end?

    Here’s a true story: back in the 80s my high school teacher brought up the subject of camping and every black and Puerto Rican student present- about a dozen in all- confessed that they were afraid to go into the woods because of the Friday the 13th films!

  • Anonymous

    Note how it’s only 68 pages. How many history books, even specialized ones like this, do you know of that are that short?

    Also note how they just include a picture of MLK Jr just as a standard thing – he had absolutely nothing to do with parks!

  • Anonymous

    Blacks couldn’t care less about national parks, nature, ecology, the environment, wilderness, the animal kingdom, conservation, animal rights, etc. None of these issues are ‘black things’. Quick, how many great black environmentalists can you think of? And remember how trash-filled black neighbourhoods are. The ability to appreciate nature in its natural, primeval, beautiful state, requires something mntally and emotionally they just don’t seem to have.

  • browser

    When will America finally get over its ovgy of self-flaggelation? When will we emerge from this trance of racial masochism and become sane again? It surely can’t go on forever!

    I hope it won’t be only after all whites are gone.

  • elitist

    Ken Burns, notwithstanding, only a tiny number of blacks are interested in the natural world.

    In my experience, the ones that are, are usually not dangerous.

    The national parks, however, are under invasion, by two groups:

    mining interests, which have absolutely no business in a national park, ever,

    and

    Mexican and Hispanic drug gangs, who are farming marijuana there and killing the wildlife of pesticides.

    Environmental degradation is one problem I can’t just blame on someone else:

    whites are as much at fault as anyone.

    Our glorious national parks should be sacred:

    off-limits to anyone who wants to do anything there but revel in the beauties of nature.

  • Uncle Bob

    They have nothing to do with the parks; the parks have nothing to do with them. The longer the parks remain without that hindrance the better…

  • It’s the bears

    6 — Madison Grant wrote at 10:46 PM on September 27:

    Does the pandering never end?

    Here’s a true story: back in the 80s my high school teacher brought up the subject of camping and every black and Puerto Rican student present- about a dozen in all- confessed that they were afraid to go into the woods because of the Friday the 13th films!

    I live in a VERY rural area, and my sister came to visit, and brought along a black girl (okay Sis is dumb…) This black girl asked if there were bears out there, indicating the 17 acres of unimproved forestland in back. I truthfully answered that, Well yes, indeed there were most likely some bears living out there. Later Sis went to the barn to get something, and the girl refused to accompany her, stating that she was afraid of the bears. I assured her that it was most highly unlikely any would be out and about, since it was the middle of January…. I’ve heard other blacks state that they are afraid to be out in nature because of bears too. I can’t imagine why, since it is my experience that bears will get out of sight if humans make plenty of noise, and blacks have no idea how to be quiet, even when requested to do so.

  • Ken

    If/When the same type of rioting in the UK comes to America, you know the looters are going straight for Borders/Barnes & Noble for this literature.

  • Anonymous

    Along these lines, I suggest amreners go back and read this ridiculous post on the Dolphin Tale article on Amren. Calling us ignorant and racist while at the same time trying to sell his book to us…be sure to leave a comment.

    ———————————————————

    64 — Donald Wilson wrote at 11:59 AM on September 27:

    In order to properly respond to some of the ignorant and racist comments regarding African American actor Morgan Freeman portraying an inventor of a prosthetic tail to enable a dolphin to swim again in the motion picture, “Dolphin’s Tale”, let me refer to a book my wife and I wrote which was acclaimed by Harvard University.

    This non-fiction book, “The Pride Of African American History”, lists more than 1,100 African American inventions all authenticated with U.S. Patent Numbers. Many of these inventions have saved lives throughout the world. These inventions range from gas masks, traffic signals, fire escapes, the propeller, rapid fire guns, and heart pace-maker controls to blood plasma, multiple-stage rockets, the cell phone battery, liquid nuclear reactors, folding wing aircraft and many more. In fact, after thoroughly researching, my wife and I realized that African Americans have contributed more to this country and world-wide civilization than any other minority segment of the total American population. However, the racist of who control the media are determined not let this information be exposed to our schools and universities because it would damage the negative images of African Americans that they have contrived over the years and prove that their racist publicity has been false.

    You can order this book, “The Pride Of African American History” from Authorhouse. To order call toll free 1-888-280-7715. The price is $19.95.

  • The Bobster

    …let me refer to a book my wife and I wrote which was acclaimed by Harvard University.

    ______________

    Then the eggheads at Harvard are truly PC fools.

    Here’s an example of a typical myth:

    http://www33.brinkster.com/iiiii/inventions/

    Traffic Signal

    Invented by Garrett A. Morgan in 1923? No!

    The first known traffic signal appeared in London in 1868 near the Houses of Parliament. Designed by JP Knight, it featured two semaphore arms and two gas lamps. The earliest electric traffic lights include Lester Wire’s two-color version set up in Salt Lake City circa 1912, James Hoge’s system (US patent #1,251,666) installed in Cleveland by the American Traffic Signal Company in 1914, and William Potts’ 4-way red-yellow-green lights introduced in Detroit beginning in 1920. New York City traffic towers began flashing three-color signals also in 1920.

    Garrett Morgan’s cross-shaped, crank-operated semaphore was not among the first half-hundred patented traffic signals, nor was it “automatic” as is sometimes claimed, nor did it play any part in the evolution of the modern traffic light. For details see Inventing History: Garrett Morgan and the Traffic Signal.

  • Sincerely Concerned

    Addressing the original comment: “However, the racist of who control the media are determined not let this information be exposed to our schools and universities because it would damage the negative images of African Americans that they have contrived over the years and prove that their racist publicity has been false.”

    Huh? Where are the racists controlling the media? And as for the schools, I’ve heard of the fact that blacks invented or developed these inventions forever, and I am in my mid-forties. I’m confused.

    Addressing the comment about the comment: thanks for pointing it out. I missed that one somehow.

  • Jim

    This is funny. Most blacks are disinterested in national parks for the same reason they’re disinterested in analytic geometry: they both appeal to people with the requisite intelligence to have a sophisticated interior life and enjoy peace and quiet.

  • ex-Indianapolis

    Does this book include a section on how to create flash mobs at State and National parks?

    My family and I love our state parks, they tend to be really white.

  • Goldilox

    Read Black Invention Myths http://www33.brinkster.com/iiiii/inventions/

    Donald Wilson said:

    “However, the racist of who control the media are determined not let this information be exposed to our schools and universities because it would damage the negative images of African Americans that they have contrived over the years and prove that their racist publicity has been false.”

    What planet did you just arrive from? There are NO negative images of Blacks allowed in any classroom in the USA. It’s considered a thought-crime.

  • Madison Grant

    To #13:

    The irony of course is that many blacks and hispanics are terrified of walking through the woods because of bears, snakes and “Jason” but have no problem strolling through the ghetto at night, something 1000X as dangerous.

  • Anonymous

    African-Americans in the Civil War–if treated with an even-hand–would involve the fascinating decision at the

    last few minutes of the 11th hour of the Confederacy to use

    Blacks as soldiers–and the deployment of uniformed Black soldiers in non-combat roles such as quartermasters, teamsters, wagon masters, carpenters, medics, etc. Is it mentioned at all?

  • Sureesh

    If the government ever offers $$$ to get Blacks into national parks, I will apply as a Black person due to my skin color. We don’t cause problems and I would love to take my family on vacation to visit more national park. So far, we’ve only been to Yosemite.

    Start classifying south indians as blacks if you want to meet your ‘color quotas’ without the violence and lowering of standards.

  • white is right, black is whack

    I wonder when we are going to hear the other side of the Civil Rights, or do their rights not matter because they’re ‘hillbillies’?

  • Brown-Eyed Devil

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