outdoors Tag

Black is Beautiful 2022 – L&M Tourers


I love riding bikes and that lead me to two historic Brooklyn Black lead cycling clubs. The “Red Caps” and the “L&M Tourers”. L&M stands for Lucille and Mildred. Two sisters from BK who loved to ride but did not feel at home in larger white male dominated cycling clubs in NYC. In fact they both attended rides w/ the NY Cycle club in the 70s. But, because they wanted to ride w/ more of their family, friends, and neighbors they made flyers, handed them out in popular cycling areas such as Prospect park and invited Black cyclists to join them on a ride; the first of which was 25 miles. That ride became the L&M Tourers who rode all over the 5 boroughs, LI, upstate, and Jersey! They helped each other out with bikes, gear, training, safety lessons, etc. And they helped each other out if a rider fell or fell behind during a ride. In an interview w/ Velo news Mildred and OG member Mel Corbett describe some of the challenges for Black folks to get into cycling, and some of the lesser and more overt harassment they faced as cyclists who were Black. L&M eventually morphed into what is now known as the Major Taylor Iron Riders and they still organize rides to this day w/ a multicultural crew of folks as anyone can join. 
Sources: Velo News, Major Taylor Club, NY Times

If you dug this check out this one of bmx rider Greg Liggins 2018 and the previous one this year of Brenda Banks

If you like this check out the one I did of Justin Williams in 2020

Short story 27 – Hike

Here is my next short story:

Its worth it. “It was only two hours” mom said. But it felt like forever. The climb made me feeling like all the oxygen was sucked out of the air. We couldn’t get any wifi and there was no one around us for miles. But it was worth it. “Nature’s cool… I like hikes” my little brother said. And when I saw
how happy it made Mom I agreed. It was worth it. Every picture, every moment. Maybe not the energy bars, but everything else.

Why not check out the last one? Short story 26 – First Protest

Hoods to Woods

I met this cat Brian “Deka” Paupaw while living in Brooklyn. Cool dude, good vibes. I knew back then that the brother was into snow boarding but did not know he was taking the babies and showing them. Such an inspiring thing to watch! Check them out on facebook. If you’re feeling it, you can donate to the org to get more kids out there.

Camp Atwater – Black History Month

Last summer I heard about Camp Atwater-a historic piece of Black and American history. I was driving through LA listening to Code Switch. Episode “Summer Vacation” spoke about people of color in the outdoors, the damage the sun can do, and this camp. 
Camp Atwater was founded in 1921 by Dr. William DeBerry. He purchased some 54 acres of land in North Brookfield Massachusetts. That’s roughly the size of two baseball stadiums! Dr. DeBerry was was part of the Urban League in Springfield (MA). The Urban League is an organization founded in 1910 in NYC to fight for the rights of Black folks in the US. DeBerry, who was also a pastor helped get a chapter going in Springfield where a sizable population of Black folks had grown. As part of the great migration of Blacks from the South to northern cities. Anyway, Black folks could not send their children to camps owned by Whites. So DeBerry founded Camp Atwater, previously called “St. John’s Camp” after the local church. 
Atwater is the oldest Black owned camp for Black children in the US. They have a time slot during the summer for boys, and one for girls. Kids come, and stay in cabins. They get three meals a day, and the hang out, do activities, have fun. Atwater has offered archery, baseball, basketball, Black history, chess, creative writing, drama, fencing, fishing, football, hiking, lacrosse, martial arts, soccer, and more. Swimming stuck out to me because like the camp’s Black folks often didn’t have access to pools back then. Camp Atwater was set on the shore of a lake and they made sure youth knew how to swim! 
Being in existence this long makes me wonder what kind of organization, project management, bookkeeping, conflict resolution, and grit it has taken to keep it open for nearly a century! On their site you can read more about them and I highly recommend listening to the CodeSwitch episode which interviews former attendees and talks about the economic mix of kids. I would love to hear how they are welcoming or being open to transgender Black kids who don’t identify as Boy or Girl. . But, BIG shout out to Camp Atwater for making building a sanctuary. And big shout out to Outdoor Afro who has reignited a long tradition of Black folks getting outdoorsy and new to the outdoors Black folks together.

If you are new to my blog, my name is Robert Liu-Trujillo. I’m a father, husband, and an illustrator from the Bay Area. I love hiking, camping, backpacking, and I even did some fishing with my grandparents as a kid. For this image I wanted to focus on some of the activities the camp has offered while also giving a feeling of being outdoors. I also have been painting and drawing images for Black history month for the last three years. 

Sources: Codeswitch NPR Podcast, Camp Atwater, Urban League of SpringfieldBlack Past

Word to Inkwell, someone needs to make a movie based on this camp! A documentary or narrative!

Some other I’ve painted for Black History Month over the years:

Elizabeth Catlett-Artist
Steve Muhammad-Martial Artist
Roxanne Shante-MC/ Rapper
Roy DeCarava-Photographer
Memphis Minnie-Blues Musicians
Blake Brockington-Trans King
Shine Louise Houston-Queer Adult Filmmaker

Black is beautiful (2017) 10- Betty Reid Soskin

Betty is 95 years young! She has a quiet grace and strength about her, multiple lives lived, a progressive grasp of world events, and a beautiful singing voice. She was born in 1921 in Detroit and spent her early years in Louisiana. Her family moved to Oakland California after a huge flood of New Orleans in 1927. After coming to California she found that most Black women had only a few options for work. In her talks she makes a point to mention getting a job doing clerical work was a step up in those times. In the 40s her and her first husband Mel Reid owned a Gospel record label in Berkeley, California. She later on remarried to William Soskin, had several children, and outlived two husbands. She lived as a house wife in Walnut Creek, wrote songs, participated in civil rights work, and at the age of 85 starting working as a park ranger. She is the oldest working park ranger today. She has spoken at events about her life and history all across the US, and has been  awarded the ACLU, California state legislature, and by former president Barack Obama. One of the most instrumental things she did as a park ranger was consult during the creation of a urban national park. She explains that because finding decent paying work was so difficult for Black families then and in many cases now; that people of color often did not have the leisure time or disposable income to access the larger state parks (and there are many) so they decided to bring them to inner cities like Richmond. I took my son and his mother to the Rosie The Riveter museum in Richmond where Betty works. Betty gave the planners some context as to which areas in Richmond that would be included in the park were sites of racial segregation and struggle for African Americans, a detail she remembers by saying “What gets remembered is determined by who is in the room doing the remembering. There was no grand conspiracy to leave my history out. There simply was nobody in that room who had any reason to know that”. If you get the chance, listen to her speak or read her blog.

You can purchase this $40 (includes shipping) Sidenote: recently, she was attacked/robbed in her home (she’s ok). For folks interested in buying this, I will donate a portion of this to her to help replace some of what was stolen from her home. Email me at info@robdontstop.com

sources: National Park Service, Wikipedia, http://cbreaux.blogspot.com/