July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 43

Why NRPA released a host of diversity, equity and
inclusion resources
By Autumn Saxton-Ross
T
o commemorate Park and Recreation Month in July, NRPA has encouraged
agencies across the country to share their park and recreation
stories. My own connection to the outdoors started in my backyard. I
grew up in a duplex, with my paternal grandmother on one side, and
my mom, dad, younger brother and I on the other (and a cousin my same age next
door). Summers were spent with my cousins exploring our block and then graduating
to time spent in Swope Park, located a little more than a mile away. I thought
of Swope Park as our community's Olmstead park. Acquired in 1896, this 1,805acre
green space remains the crown jewel of the Kansas City (Missouri) Parks
system. As the city's largest park, and one of the largest municipal parks in the
United States, Swope Park features hiking trails, grassy meadows and soccer fields,
golf courses and community gardens, the Starlight Theatre, the Kansas City Zoo
and the Lakeside Nature Center (now expanded to house Missouri's largest native
species rehabilitation center), where I held my first owl pellet.
It was one of my favorite parks growing up and still is today. Over the years, I have
used this place, and my relationship with it, to ground conversations on the Black
experience and green spaces. Through my research, I discovered that the Swope Park
pool (the one I learned to swim in) and its integration in the 1950s served as the practice
litigation for the soon-to-follow Brown v. Board of Education case. During that time,
Thurgood Marshall traveled to Kansas City as the lead National Association for the
Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) lawyer.
Swope Park
During the Jim Crow Era in Kansas City, Watermelon Hill - officially known as
Shelter No. 5 - was the only spot in Swope Park that Black residents could visit. It
was built to accommodate 400 to 500 people, but on weekends and holidays, the place
could be overcrowded with up to 1,000 smiling faces, many people coming from all
over the city by streetcar.
My maternal grandmother also has a personal connection to this park. Watermelon
Hill was the only part of the park she would take me to until the late 1980s. I had
experienced those other places in the park through my parents. Nearly 30 years after
the end of legal segregation, Watermelon Hill remained the only part of the park that
my grandmother frequented. For me, it's not just about addressing access, but considPARK
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| Parks & Recreation
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July 2021 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of July 2021 - Parks & Recreation

July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Intro
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover1
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover2
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 1
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 2
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 3
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 4
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 5
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 6
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 7
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 8
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 9
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 10
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 11
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 12
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 13
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 14
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 15
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 16
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 17
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 18
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 19
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 20
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 21
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July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 27
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 28
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 29
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 30
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 31
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 32
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 33
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 34
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 35
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 36
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 37
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 38
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 39
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 40
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 41
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 42
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 43
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 44
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 45
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 46
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 47
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 48
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 49
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 50
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 51
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July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 54
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 55
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 56
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover3
July 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover4
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2021
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com