Yesterday's Baltimore Sun ran an article about African Americans in the environmental movement. The author recites the numerous -- and important -- contributions of black Americans in ecological activism and environmental science. For example:
One of the two explorers who discovered the North Pole was a black man from Maryland named Matthew Henson.
The first backcountry park rangers in Yosemite and Sequioa national parks were members of the Buffalo Soldiers, the first all-black Army unit.
In 1971, a black man named John Francis embarked on a personal boycott of the oil industry by refusing, for 22 years, to either drive or ride in a motorized vehicle.
In 1973, a successful grassroots effort that forced Shell to reduce toxic air pollution by 30 percent was lead by a black woman named Margie Richard.
Nevertheless, "minorities only represent 16 percent of the environmental science workforce" and in 2010 only 2 percent of of Maryland State Park visitors were black.
Stay tuned for a future HoLLIE Continuing Education program on this topic.
Photo credit: US stamp art reproduced by The Smithsonian Institute.