BlackPacking (Student Exhibit)
This exhibit is designed to display the accomplishments and experiences of African American men and women who've hiked the Appalachian Trail despite prominent stereotypes as it relates to people of color and hiking. Additionally, this exhibit also takes an in-depth look at not only people of color who hike, but organizations that support minority hiking endeavors as well.
This project is catered towards minority men women and children who have always been curious about outdoor activity an interested in learning more about it, but just never took the opportunity to experience it first hand themselves.
The inspiration for this project stems from realizing that I myself am actually apart of this discourse community of minorities who’ve always been interested in hiking, camping, biking or fishing, but never actually took the initiative to do so. After doing some self-reflecting and conducting several interviews throughout this project, I’ve realized that there are several contributing factors as to why people of color in the United States don’t hike or partake in outdoor activities at the same rate as White Americans. Reasons vary widely from not hiking because your family simply hasn’t introduced it to you because they never have, or not hiking because you legitimately don’t feel safe alone in the wilderness. Although these reasons may appear to be completely separate from one another, as you will see navigating this exhibit, reasons as to why minorities don’t hike at the same rate as white Americans are more linked than they may appear to be.
Studying the demographics of the Appalachian Trail over time speaks not only to the history of the trail, but the history of the United States of America. Although people of color still may face some of the same racial and discriminatory experiences that may have deterred a person of color from hiking 60 years ago, the fact of the matter is, year by year, more people of color are willing to experience what nature has to offer them and this exhibit will focus on the experiences of minority individuals and organizations who have found a passion in being outdoors.