The President's Office Seventh Annual Conference on Diversity

Inclusion: A World of Opportunities


Course #TD1784

Understanding the Past to Prepare for the Future: The Lewis Mountain Case Study

Note: This session is capped at 80 participants.

Session Description: The Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability is pleased to invite the National Park Service (NPS) to present.  In the mid-1900s, Shenandoah National Park (SNP) began a long-term project that would culminate in a comprehensive exhibit in its largest centrally located visitor center that would interpret the establishment and development of the park. As research and development of the exhibit evolved it became apparent that some of the stories would not be easy to tell or easy to hear.  But the story that is even less well known is the story of Lewis Mountain, a quiet, idyllic campground in the heart of the park where countless visitors have vacationed and where many return year after year to their own little piece of paradise. Today, there is little evidence of the turbulence that characterized that site in its early years. The 1939 opening of Lewis Mountain for the “exclusive use of negroes” was the beginning of more than a decade of strife over segregation that reverberated from Shenandoah to the highest levels of the Commonwealth and through the Department of Interior.  

This session will tell the story of the NPS interpretation of Lewis Mountain. It will summarize the segregation and eventual desegregation of the Lewis Mountain area in the context of the 1940s and explain how park staff went about learning the details while re-establishing important relationships with primary sources. The session will conclude with a discussion of the demographics of today’s Shenandoah visitor and the park’s efforts to understand and reveal the “meanings” of its resources to all Americans.

Presented by:  Melissa Altman. Claire Comer (NPS), Matt Graves (NPS), Audrey Tutt-Smith (former Lewis Mountain employee)

Session Information:
Monday, March 18, 2013
9:30 AM - 10:30 AM
FCSC, Highlands Room    Note: This is a location change.

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