Black Americans - All 45 Million, Don't Hike
In the US, Black people don't swim. Black people don't hike. Black people don't travel. There is quite an extensive list of activities that black people, all 45 million, purportedly do not partake in. We repeatedly hear these stereotypes, often without their historical context e.g. segregation limited safe access to many of those activities.
Meet Rue Mapp. She is helping to cross "Black people don't hike" off the list.
The former Morgan Stanley Analyst was at a crossroads, pursue an MBA or pursue something she loved. She picked her passion - nature.
Mapp started, Outdoor Afro, an organization "Where black people and nature meet."
It started with Facebook and a blog. Mapp began writing about her love of nature while mentioning being the sole black person at outdoor functions. She quickly found that she wasn't alone in her frustration. Her "story resonated with a lot of other African-Americans, who would write her to say that they, too, were tired of being the 'only one.'"
Outdoor Afro currently has 30 trained leaders across the US and 7,000 active members. They organize events such as, camping, hiking, birding, biking and skiing. At these events, group leaders remind participants of the importance of nature in black history. For example, "Harriet Tubman, abolitionist and hero of the Underground Railroad, is remembered as a naturalist who understood waterways, astronomy, herbal medicine and geography. That understanding helped her move enslaved Africans from the South to freedom in the North."
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