This chapter explores the history of how the environment has been constructed in the United States (academically, politically, and through organizations) and popular culture, highlighting how African Americans have been constructed in relation to nature. It examines how key moments in U.S. history that have come to define human/environment interaction bump up against collective experiences of black people navigating the social, cultural, and psychological minefields of slavery and segregation. In particular, how did the founding of parks, creation of conservation, and the broader environmental movement impact African Americans? What is the emotional and psychological “trickle down” effect of the way in which these moments/ideas impacted black people over the long term?
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