26 June 2013

Segregation in the U.S. National Parks

Photos from the website of the National Park Service, via Slate:
These photographs of segregated areas in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park date to the 1930s and 1940s... Within the large Western national parks, established in the early 20th century, African-Americans weren’t particularly welcome. Geographer Terence Young reports that early 20th-century park administrators had a “conscious, but unpublicized policy of discouraging visits by African Americans, [who were], in the opinion of administration, ‘conspicuous…objected to by other visitors…[and] impossible to serve.’ ”

The official segregation of Shenandoah was short-lived. During WWII, the National Park Service, spurred by federal desires to raise morale in the African-American community, made officially desegregated facilities the norm for all national parks.

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