Join us in living and remembering Black History this February and every month of the year
by Outdoor Afro Leader Zoë Polk
On Saturday February 7, 2015 Outdoor Afro Richmond Virginia hosted a “Healing Hike” in York River State Park. This hike was part of Outdoor Afro’s nationwide campaign to engage as a community in solidarity activities with Ferguson and New York City. It is in the same spirit as similar Outdoor Afro events in Seattle, Chicago, Louisville, Washington DC, and Oakland, CA. And it honored our belief that nature is just as important to our living history as it is to our past.
Every February, Black History is commemorated and celebrated in schools, churches, political speeches, and art exhibitions. During this month, we sing louder and dance harder to the music of Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Mahalia Jackson, and Sista Monica Parker. We reread speeches and biographies of political heroes including Bayard Rustin, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, A. Phillip Randolph, and Fannie Lou Hamer. And we contemplate the living history embodied in Barack and Michelle Obama, Janet Mock, Serena Williams, and the #BlackLivesMatter Movement. We also head outside to honor Black Americans who used the outdoors to break barriers including Harriet Tubman, “hikers” in the Selma to Montgomery March, Expedition Denali, and the 25th Infantry U.S. Army Black Bicycle Corps .
Since we were founded, Outdoor Afro has inspired nature lovers, kayakers, climbers, campers, fishermen and women, and picnickers to use every day in nature as a time to contemplate the accomplishments and relevance of Black History, and 2015 is no different. In January, Outdoor Afro Los Angeles headed to the Santa Monica Mountains to hike to a waterfall in Soulstice Canyon and visit the ruins of a home designed by renown African-American architect Paul Williams.
This February, we are issuing a special invitation for you to join us on Black history month inspired events around the country:
February 14, 2015
Outdoor Afro Washington DC will gather at the Fredrick Douglas National Historic to celebrate the abolitionist’s 197th birthday. They’ll participate in day long activities including walking tours of Fredrick Douglas’ house and historic Anacostia neighborhood.
Outdoor Afro Chicago will grab their snowboards and alpine skis and “get their Andre Horton and Bonnie St. John on” at Devils Head Resort.
February 15, 2015
Outdoor Afro Bay Area will gather in the Presidio of California for a four-mile hike and history lesson Buffalo Soldiers’ roots in San Francisco.
February 21, 2015
Join 50 members of the Outdoor Afro Los Angeles team as they create their own history hiking Echo Mountain via the Sam Merrill Trail.
February 22, 2015
Outdoor Afro Louisville will do an urban hike along the Chickasaw Heritage trail and learn about the Chicksaw Park’s important role in the de-segregation of Kentucky’s parks. Due to inclement weather this event has been cancelled and will be rescheduled.
Outdoor Afro Bay Area will do hike along San Francisco’s coast to the Golden Gate Bridge. Along the way, they will picnic on the beach and discuss the local influence of poet Maya Angelou, civil rights hero John Harris, and black whaling boat Captain William P. Shorey.
February 28, 2015
Outdoor Afro North Carolina will visit historic Stagville. They will see the remnants of one of the largest plantations in the pre-Civil War South and hike on trails named for the enslaved Black Americans who used to live there.
Outdoor Afro Minneapolis will lace up their skates and learn the history of the Colored Hockey League.
Outdoor Afro Seattle will convene at Seward Park for a day of food and fellowship in nature.
Don’t see an event near you? Tweet/facebook/instagram photos of you enjoying Black History Month in nature using hashtag #outdoorafro. And stay tuned for some exciting news about our expansion of the Outdoor Afro Leadership Team!