A compelling new short video — Twenty & Odd — explores the trauma, resilience, and beauty of the African American experience in our country through the lens of sites protected by the National Park Service. (Image: NPS)

The Chesapeake Conservation Partnership is committed to engaging an inclusive, new generation of conservationists, and to protecting lands important to communities historically underrepresented in land conservation. So, when we see examples of how protected lands illustrate those goals we take notice. This is one of those examples. 

Take 4 minutes and 25 seconds to watch this creative and compelling video — Twenty & Odd — produced by the National Park Service. Here’s the background on the film from NPS: 

“Set against 400 years of suffering, healing, and strength, with a backdrop of our nation’s most storied lands, the innumerable contributions of African Americans to the foundation of the United States are recognized in this short film. ‘Twenty & Odd’ serves as a visual tool to inform and highlight and to educate the nation as a whole about the trauma, resilience, and beauty of the African American experience in our country through the lens of sites stewarded by the National Park Service. This film provides an opportunity to motivate and empower people from all walks of life to adopt and maintain healthy lifestyle behaviors, cultivate personal connections with national parks, and embrace parks as welcoming sources of health and healing. 

The film’s title is taken from a quote from English colonist John Rolfe describing the number of the first enslaved Africans brought to Virginia in 1619. The creative team chose the title to reclaim power of Rolfe’s phrasing that suggested that these enslaved Africans were so insignificant that they could not even bother to be properly counted. 

The narrative for ‘Twenty & Odd’ is Maya Angelou’s remarkable piece, ‘Still I Rise.’ Through its voice and imagery, the film advances messages of African American empowerment, remembrance, education, inspiration, and engagement in iconic places stewarded by the National Park Service.”

Learn more about the underlying concepts of the film through this reference guide

In the Chesapeake watershed, we are fortunate to have conserved sites and landscapes that tell parts of the African American experience — Harriet Tubman National Historical Park, Fort Monroe National Monument, Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site, and more. But there are many additional unprotected sites and landscapes in the watershed. Some are documented, many are likely not — yet. We’re ramping up to work on that. More on that a bit later this year!

Lightning Update is a regular communication of the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect positions of the Partnership or member organizations.
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Support for the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership is provided by:
National Park Service Chesapeake
EPA Chesapeake Bay Program
USDA Forest Service
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Virginia Outdoors Foundation
US Fish & Wildlife Service
Chesapeake Conservancy

The Chesapeake Conservation Partnership is co-convened by: