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The Green Tunnel

May 2, 2023

The Appalachian Trail is a much more diverse place in 2023 than it was as recently as 20 years ago. But if you spend much time on the trail, you know it’s still a pretty white place. There are many stories about the challenges faced by members of marginalized communities who hike the AT, and we need a lot more research to better understand how the history of the trail and the history of race are closely interwoven. 

On today’s episode, attorney Krystal Williams of Maine and historian Phoebe Young of the University of Colorado-Boulder help us explore specifically how the history of the AT crosses paths with African American history, in ways you might not expect. 

Further Reading: 

Mills Kelly, “The A.T. and Race” AT Journeys, February 2021:

Megan Rosenbloom, Dark Archives: A Librarian’s Investigation into the Science and History of Books Bound in Human Skin (New York: MacMillian, 2020).

Noelle Smith, “How Perceived Racial Differences Created a Crisis in Black Women’s Healthcare,” Nursing Clio, March 31, 2020, 

Harriet Washington, Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present (New York: Random House, 2008).

Phoebe S. K. Young, Camping Grounds: Public Nature in American Life from the Civil War to the Occupy Movement (New York: Oxford University Press, 2021).