Black History in the Botanical World

It’s Black History Month 2021, and there are so many opportunities to learn about the intersections between Blackness and botany, even while staying safe-at-home.

Of course, Black folks’ contributions to botany and environmentalism could never fit into one month – nor does celebrating them need to be limited solely to February. Still, we’re excited to point you in the direction of gardens and gardeners making moves to reclaim and share the many stories of Black people and our plants.

Consider this the beginnings of a Botany x Black History directory; below, find events, learning opportunities, and people to support from Portland and around the country. Know of other events or projects we should plug, especially in Portland? Let us know, and we can update the roster – yes, even after February 28th.

Past Events

Queens Botanical Garden
“Celebrating Black Botanists” virtual family series, February 15th – 19th @ 10AM EST (7AM Pacific)

New York Botanical Garden
“Inside Black Botany: A Conversation with the Curators”
(more NYBG Events can be found at

Research and Exhibitions

Open-access article courtesy of Portland State University:White Space, Black Space: Community Gardens in Portland, Oregon

Community-based research project headed by Mudbone Grown: Portland Black Gardens Oral History Project

Online exhibit from New York Botanical Garden: Black Botany: The Nature of Black Experience

People, Places, and Platforms to Support

Black-owned, community-based farm enterprise in Portland: Mudbone Grown

Curated collection of Black history, agriculture, and plants: Black People With Plants

  • (In 2019, Black People With Plants did a great blog series on Black History in Nature that can be found here.)

Podcast of “mindful conversations surrounding Black culture and horticulture:” Black in the Garden

“A Horticultural Revolution”: The Ron Finley Project

Community of Black folks, Indigenous folks, and people of color exploring nature in Oregon, founded by Pamela Slaughter: People of Color Outdoors

  • (Read more about Pamela and the experiences that led to her founding the community, here.)



About the Author

Mareshah “MJ” Jackson is a graduate student in Strategic Communication at the University of Oregon, and the Communication & Development Coordinator at Hoyt Arboretum. When she’s not recovering from all-nighters, you can find her running through Portland, using iNaturalist on trails, and window shopping.

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