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A park ranger embodies the hidden history of Yosemite's Buffalo Soldiers

Image courtesy of Creative Commons
Buffalo Soldiers of the 25th Infantry Regiment in 1890

Shelton Johnson brings the hidden history of Blacks in the American West to life through a storytelling project at Yosemite National Park. In his performance, he channels that past, and transforms into the fictional role of Buffalo Soldier Elizy Bowman. And, as a note for our listeners, this story contains some racially-charged language.

To listen to the story click the audio player above.

SHELTON JOHNSON: When I first started telling the story most people had never heard it, and when you tell a story no one has heard before, the initial reaction is disbelief, and sometimes people can feel that it's not true, or an out and out lie.

Shelton Johnson is also the author of Gloryland,a novel about life through the eyes of a Buffalo Soldier. 

For more information on Yosemite National Park's Buffalo Soldier educational program clickhere.

And to see a video featuring Shelton Johnson's performance clickhere.

Leila Day is a Senior Producer at Pineapple Street Media and is the Executive Producer and co-host of The Stoop Podcast, stories about the black diaspora. Her work has been featured on NPR, 99% Invisible, the BBC as well as other outlets. Before The Stoop, she was an editor at Al Jazeera's podcast network and worked on creating and editing award winning narrative driven journalism. She began her career in journalism at KALW where she worked as a health care and criminal justice reporter. During that time she contributed as an editor, taught audio storytelling to inmates at San Quentin, and helped develop curriculum for training upcoming reporters.