Birding While Black: Identity in the Stories of African American Birders


Patricia A. Turner (University of California, Los Angeles)

Although ‘birding while black’ is most frequently associated with an ugly 2020 incident of racism in Central Park, African American birders have long faced challenges while pursuing this pastime. Nonetheless, many persevere and proudly self-identify themselves as black birders. This paper will examine the accounts of several black birders, some published and others that I have collected in a new project intended to capture the stories of blacks who bird. By increasing our understanding of how black birders came to embrace this practice, we can also increase our understanding of their sense of self and worldviews.

Part of 54-02 Identified/Identifying as Black: Folklife and African American Identity, Friday, October 22, 2:00 pm–3:30 pm