This chapter examines the legacy of an environmental narrative that denies the complex history of various cultural groups whose access to and use of natural resources were mediated by policies and laws that limited their possibilities. In particular, it explores the impact this legacy has had on the participation of African Americans with the mainstream environmental movement from the early 1900s to the present (including the National Park Service, the Forest Service, and the environmental justice movement). The chapter pays particular attention to the creation of national parks and forests, as spaces and places that reflect national identity, environmental values, and American history and that are not immune to processes of representation and racialization. Finally, it considers how African Americans are challenged in terms of being visible and instrumental in developing strategies within mainstream environmental circles to deal with environmental change.
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