Society of American Foresters

Northwest Regions

From ‘Invalids need not apply’ to ‘Black Foresters Wanted’: The Forest Service in the Civil Rights Era

African Americans and other people of color remained largely excluded from forest management work until the late 1960s. Then, in the midst of an era of civil unrest, following passage of the Civil Rights Act, the Forest Service created the Tuskegee Pre-Forestry Program, a seminal effort in moving “Toward a Multicultural Organization” by the 1990s.

In this talk, historian and author Donna Sinclair introduces the overlapping complexities of environmental law, social policy, and race in twentieth-century America. From the Tuskegee story to Gloria Brown’s appointment as the first African American female forest supervisor in 1999, the Forest Service provides unexpected lessons in civil rights action and representation, begging the question: What can the Forest Service teach us about civil rights today?

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Event date: 
Thursday, February 25, 2021 - 11:00 to 12:00