2024 journal article

“We have our own cultural ways of being in nature”: New perspectives on African Americans’ relationships to U.S. National Parks

Journal of Leisure Research.

By: H. Pinckney*, A. Hicks*, A. Sène* & M. Floyd n

Source: ORCID
Added: February 1, 2024

Explanations for why African Americans are under-represented in U.S. national parks tend to focus on socioeconomic barriers, cultural norms, socialization practices, and discrimination. There exist, however, counternarratives that challenge prevailing notions that African Americans lack strong connections to national parks focusing on their environmentalism and offers new directions for further research. Using focus groups and qualitative methods, this study explored how African Americans perceive national parks. Our findings revealed nuanced and critical Black-centered themes. One encapsulates resurgent fear of racial oppression in nature driven by the current political climate. We also found a desire to reclaim and recreate a Black-centric environmental narrative. We conclude that applying a historical and cultural lens and recognizing environmental values among African Americans provide a basis for the National Park Service and other agencies to build stronger relationships with African Americans.