African Americans' Participation in the Environmental Movement

THU, MAR 26, 2015 (57:55)

Dr. Carolyn Finney talks about her new book, Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors. Her work bridges the fields of environmental history, cultural studies, critical race studies, and geography. She argues that the legacies of slavery, Jim Crow, and racial violence have shaped cultural understandings of the “great outdoors” and determined who should and can have access to natural spaces. Dr. Finney, whose love of environment was inspired by a backpacking trip around the world and numerous years living in Nepal, explores the relationship of African Americans to the environment and to the environmental movement. Drawing on “green” conversations with African descendants from coast to coast, she considers the power of resistance and resilience to the environmental and social challenges in our cities and beyond. Now an assistant professor in environmental science, policy and management at the University of California Berkeley, Dr. Finney also is a member of the U.S. National Parks Advisory Board. As such, she works with the National Park Service to respond to America’s changing demographics and diversify the ranks of visitors and employees.

+ BIO: Carolyn Finney

Carolyn Finney, Ph.D. is a writer, performer and cultural geographer. As a professor in Environmental Science, Policy and Management at the College of Natural Resources at the University of California, Berkeley, she explores how issues of difference impact participation in decision-making processes designed to address environmental issues. Although Carolyn pursed an acting career for eleven years, a backpacking trip around the world and living in Nepal changed the course of her life. Motivated by these experiences, she returned to school after a 15-year absence to complete a B.A., M.A. and Ph.D.

Museum of African American History
African American Culture Series
AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: Civilian Conservation Corps Series