Project goal: Unearth and share stories about African Americans who lived in, worked in and visited Yosemite during the past 150 years.

Why this work matters: The basic elements of Yosemite’s history as our third national park are well known, from the public lands legislation that granite walls and giant sequoias inspired in the mid-1800s, to a modern-day reputation as a global hub for rock-climbers, hikers, backpackers and sightseers. Current educational resources about Yosemite’s history, however, often don’t capture the whole story — and don’t reflect the diversity of people who have connections to the park, either in years past or as present-day rangers, researchers, visitors and stewards.

Park educators recognize that many stories remain untold, left out of official records and guidebooks, and acknowledge a notable lack of information about African American history in Yosemite. Through this project, they hope to fill the gap.

Researchers have found snippets of that history, such as references to African Americans in correspondence from the park’s early years, and they are confident more documentation exists in journals, letters and other materials. This year, researchers will dive into archives within and beyond the park to uncover details about Yosemite’s African American history. After conducting extensive research, they’ll share findings with the public through podcasts and social media, and in a new resource manual for park educators and interpreters.

How your support helps: Your donations will fund important research to help Yosemite share more inclusive and accurate information about the past 150 years of human history in the park. By supporting this project, you’ll contribute to a much-needed effort to help visitors connect with Yosemite in a new way and see themselves represented in the park’s history — and in its future.

Partnering with Yosemite National Park.

Laura Goforth

Education and Outreach Specialist, Yosemite National Park

Project Notes

"Yosemite National Park was first preserved over 150 years ago at a time when the voices and stories of African Americans were not considered an important part of our history... The lack of readily available and well-documented information of black and African American people in Yosemite creates a barrier in our ability to share more inclusive stories. For this reason, we have a dire need to conduct primary research and uncover lesser known stories."