September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 57

Equity in Parks and
Recreation:
A Historical Perspective
Parks and recreation are critical infrastructure
to society, adding beauty, clean
water, clean air, places for exploration, recreation,
socialization and peace. However,
they also represent places of discrimination,
segregation, trauma and disparity.
Historical and contemporary land-use
policies have shaped the contours of public
park and recreation spaces across the
nation in ways that continue to make it
easier for some, and much harder for others, to experience open spaces.
To expand access, one must first understand the factors that have shaped the unfair access and distribution of park and
recreation facilities across communities. The new NRPA resource, Equity in Parks and Recreation: A Historical Perspective,
explores U.S. history, the evolution of parks and recreation and urban planning, and how it brought us to the inequities
in access to parks and recreation that exist today. The resource's story map is a snapshot of policies and stories of park
inequities throughout U.S. history and the opportunities and challenges ahead. It is designed to acknowledge and reflect
upon the experience of unequal access and abject practices. Most importantly, the story map is meant to inspire the transformation
of a just and equity-driven park and recreation system for all.
To view the story map, visit nrpa.org/Equity.
into place to deny access to parks and recreation. Using
a critical lens of equity, professionals and academics who
are committed to establishing equitable parks and recreation
programs must be willing to understand the extent to
which policies and practices were established throughout
history to legally segregate and deny access to spaces for
leisure among African Americans that continue to impact
communities today.
related
Throughout the 20th century, parks and recreationestablished,
programs
were
organizations.
While
these
including
institutions
the
National Park Service, state park systems and various
youth
are
instrumental in the history of parks and recreation, at
the same time, the 1896 Supreme Court decision of
Plessy v. Ferguson prevented African Americans from
accessing these programs - especially among citizens
who were white. Even more telling is the fact that many
African Americans helped establish these systems, but
were denied access to these spaces. For example, African
Americans were legally denied entrance into National
Parks until 1945 despite the fact that Black troops helped
establish Yosemite and Sequoia National Park, as well
as other outdoor recreation areas. Although national
parks were legally desegregated in 1945, the presence
of African Americans in some parks did not occur until
after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed.
Local Governments Resist Desegregation
While the National Park Service made efforts to
desegregate federal parks, local and state parks continued
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to reinforce segregation, meaning places where African
Americans could enjoy the outdoors were few and far
between. Accessing these limited designated spaces often
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September 2021 - Parks & Recreation

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

September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Intro
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover1
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover2
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 1
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 2
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 3
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 4
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 5
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 6
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 6a
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 6b
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 7
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September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover3
September 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