A consideration of collective memory in African American attachment to wildland recreation places
This study examines the effect of race on place attachment to wildland areas. It is generally assumed that African Americans have a more negative impression of wildlands, compared to white ethnic groups. Studies from past decades report that blacks show less aesthetic preference for wildland, unstructured environments and are also less environmentally aware than whites. While it is assumed that blacks are wildland averse, few studies have considered some of the sociohistorical factors that may have contributed to the formation of such attitudes. One possibility is that blacks’ collective "memory" of sociohistorical factors such as slavery, sharecropping/Jim Crow, and lynching may have contributed to a black aversion for wildland environments. Racial differences in aesthetic appreciation of wildlands are tested with a place attachment scale developed by Williams and others using confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling. The data are from a 1995 survey of residents in a rural, southern county in the Florida panhandle. Results show significant racial variation, with African Americans having less attachment to wildland recreation areas. Sex and age are also significant predictors of place attachment.