Nine Pioneering African American Outdoorspeople


It’s no accident that the most heralded and pioneering natural explorers that appear in U.S. history books tend to be White. Black men and women who made as significant a contribution to America’s Great Outdoors as their White counterparts were often elided from history—producing the false, racially inflected cultural myth that Black Americans are predominately urban. Nothing could be further from the truth. Take the fact that many African Americans’ forebears migrated from the South, where their relationships with and contributions to the land were remarkable. 

For Black History Month, SIERRA compiled a list of just a few such pioneering Black outdoorsmen and women, past and present, whose place in history will withstand the test of time. They’re explorers, park rangers, climbers,…

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