Critically acclaimed author Shelton Johnson plumbs geography, history, and his own experience as a national park ranger. His 2009 historical novel Gloryland traces the journey of a young black Indian from South Carolina in the Reconstructed South across the Great Plains to Yosemite. The novel, the result of 16 years of research, recounts the history of the Buffalo Soldiers and the once little-known story of their service as some of the first national park rangers. Johnson’s writing and advocacy for their story ultimately led to his appearance in the Ken Burns PBS series The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. Johnson’s talk weaves his own journey from Detroit to Yosemite together with an insider’s look at the challenges and rewards of serving as a park ranger. Don’t miss his perspective on misperceptions about the relevance of our national parks for people of color.
Photo credit: Tara McGovern