The Way Home

H/T to Peter Winfrey

I highly recommend taking the time to watch this video in its entirety.  It follows a group of black seniors to Yellowstone National Park.  Along the way there is a discussion of why black Americans have apparently lost touch with the history of our national parks, nature and the joys of reconnecting.  It’s an incredibly touching film and in my mind Ranger Shelton Johnson is a superstar.

7 responses... add one

Kevin,

Thanks for posting the video. I was moved by the video and, heck, I want to go to Yosemite now and meet Ranger Johnson. He makes history, life, come alive.

I don’t know if this applies to African Americans, but I’ve heard from Latino friends that there are some parks where they feel welcomed and others where they feel like outsiders. Hosting festivals geared towards attracting Latinos has worked for some of New York’s state parks to create a more welcoming atmosphere. People go to a park a few times for festivals, see what the place offers, and then go back for hikes or picnics or camping.

The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) had a panel discussion yesterday on Google+ closely related to this video, and it was incredibly informative and thought provoking, especially discussing Col. Charles Young’s career as one of the first African-American officers in the regular army (buffalo soldiers) and his role as the first black superintendent of Sequoia National Park.

Give it a watch if you’re interested: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5R7FfG7BNw

Hi Peter,

Thanks so much for posting the video on your FB page and for sharing this additional link. I am definitely going to check it out.

Kevin
Thanks for sharing this powerful video. I can’t wait to share this with my class and discuss it. I hope that we teachers can inspire our students to get out and explore our nations rich history and resources. Your essay on the the excitement that you feel when you lead a group on a field trip to a Civil War Battlefield was shared by these people as they explored Yosemite. Keep up the good work!!

I just figured it out! On Saturday I am sitting on a panel discussing the issues in teaching the Civil War. One of the arguements I made was that I worry about my African American students not embracing the Civil War in a stronger fashion. After watching this video its my fault, at least in my school, I am not making the connections for them in a relevant manner. I lack the content knowledge about USCT’s and there role and I am failing my students. I have a new resolve now to work harder! Thanks for posting the video.

Hi Thomas,

Thanks so much for sharing. You have put your finger on one of the toughest challenges and one that I’ve experienced firsthand as well. There are no easy solutions, but just reading this suggests that you have not failed your students in the least. Feel free to use the contact form if there is anything I can help with. I am happy to chat.

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