Trust for Public Land Announces Hiring of First Black History and Culture Director
Trust for Public Land (TPL) is proud to announce Dr. Jocelyn Imani as the first National Black History and Culture Director for TPL. In this role, Dr. Imani will take on the lead responsibilities for developing and guiding TPL’s work to protect, create and interpret sites of significance to Black history and culture.
“Trust for Public Land is incredibly proud to be bringing in someone of Dr. Imani’s stature and expertise,” said Trust for Public Land CEO and President Diane Regas. “Dr. Imani’s experience as a historian, educator and community builder will prove indispensable in helping to advance TPL’s mission of not only protecting and creating sites of significance to Black history and culture across the country but building new ways to make shared spaces more relevant and accessible to all populations.”
Conserving sites of significance to Black culture and history has long been a part of TPL’s work of protecting land and creating parks, with community and equity always at the center. From the Nicodemus National Historic Site in the Kansas Plains to Pullman National Monument in Chicago, to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park in Atlanta, Trust for Public Land and supporters have helped preserve and create public access to the outdoor spaces that tell the story of Black life in America. But of the 95,000 sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places, only 2 percent focus on the experiences of Black Americans. More work needs to be done and TPL hopes to help continue leading those efforts with communities across the country. To further these efforts, Sony Pictures and TPL announced a partnership last year to accelerate the protection of Black historic sites.
“There is great energy and enthusiasm for the work being driven by TPL’s Black History and Culture Initiative. Increasing the number of Black history and culture sites nationwide will further equity and opportunity for communities and tell a more complete story of our country,” said Keith Weaver, EVP of Global External Policy & External Affairs at Sony Pictures, and Chair of Trust for Public Land’s Black History and Advisory Council. “We look forward to working alongside Dr. Imani and are excited for the powerful leadership she will bring to this important and historically overlooked area of preservation work.”
“I am deeply honored to be taking up this new leadership role at Trust for Public Land,” said Dr. Jocelyn Imani, Black History and Culture Director. “TPL has long partnered with communities to protect and create sites that honor Black history and heritage and is committed to addressing the immense disparities that remain in our nation’s shared history. I look forward to working with community partners to develop strategies that build upon TPL’s mission to connect everyone to the joys and benefits of the outdoors.”
“In my years of knowing Dr. Imani, she has not only been an incredible historian and community builder but an emerging leader who has shown the unique ability to bring such incredible energy, passion and thoughtful experience to her work. It is those same qualities that have made Jocelyn someone who can inspire people and communities to reflect on our shared history and want to work to build a more equitable future,” said Dr. Turkiya L. Lowe. “I am certain she will do the same in her new role as the National Director of Black History and Culture.”
Dr. Jocelyn Imani is a storyteller, educator, and community builder with over a decade of experience as a public historian. Prior to joining TPL, Dr. Imani spent time as an Interpretive Ranger with the National Park Service, served as Historian at Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site, and worked in the Office of Curatorial Affairs at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
She has taught U.S. History at Fisk and Howard Universities, as well as Washington Adventist University, Coppin State University, and others. She is particularly dedicated to the development of strong children, a passion reflected in her founding of the Big Brown Get Down, an annual community event that connects upwardly mobile professionals with middle and high school students from underserved communities.
Dr. Imani holds a PhD in African Diaspora and Public History from Howard University and a BA in History from Fisk University.
An avid fan of arts, music, and culture, Dr. Imani comes from a long line of musicians and sang before she spoke. In her work, she is focused on reimagining how Black history and culture sites are activated and aims to make shared spaces more relevant and accessible to all populations. A proud daughter of the South, she is a native of Nashville, Tennessee.
About Trust for Public Land
Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit that works to connect everyone to the benefits and joys of the outdoors. As a leader in equitable access to the outdoors, TPL works with communities to create parks and protect public land where they are needed most. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 3 million