Black History on the Mississippi

When people visit the Mississippi River, we hope they will draw inspiration from their experiences in the park. While many national park sites across the country tell the stories of the struggle for civil rights, women’s equality, and the dispossession of land from Native Americans, we have been examining how our river stories are often centered on the legacies of white men, diminishing the significant history and contributions of Black people, Native Americans, people of color, and women. When visitors can recognize themselves in a park program and in a park ranger’s story, it affirms their experience and their place in the park. It contributes to their sense of belonging in a space, and that connection may inspire them to help protect it.

This month we encourage you to follow the park’s Facebook page to explore Black history in the park, including prominent stories from Emily Goodridge Grey, Clarence Wiggington, and Eliza Winston. You can also read some longer stories on our blog:

Marguerite Bonga, an African American and Ojibwe woman, lived at Camp Coldwater in the 1820s and 1830s and helped her husband, Jacob Fahlstrom, rise to prominence as a successful fur trader.

Harriet Scott Robinson made history when she and her husband, Dred Scott, used their temporary status as free people while living at Fort Snelling to sue for their freedom. Historians regard Dred Scott v. Sandford as one of the worst and most consequential court rulings in U.S. history.

For more information, please visit: Mississippi Park Connection