Celebrating Father’s Day: A Tribute to My Father’s Legacy

Celebrating Father’s Day: A Tribute to My Father’s Legacy

In the early years after my father passed away in 1997, Father’s Day would find me awash with sadness. However, that sorrow would quickly transform into gratitude as I experienced a new kind of fatherhood through my children’s father. And later, when I started Outdoor Afro as a blog in 2009, it became a daily tribute to my father’s legacy.

My father was born in Texas during the Jim Crow era, one of 12 siblings. Most of them migrated from the South to California and the Pacific Northwest in search of freedom and economic opportunity. My parents, both from the South, did not leave behind everything they valued from their upbringing. They had a strong connection to nature and wanted to maintain that bond in a way that reflected their childhood experiences.

Before I was born, my father bought several acres of land in Lake County, California, about 100 miles Northeast of our urban home in the Oakland Hills. This allowed me to grow up in the best of two worlds: a beautiful, diverse urban setting and rolling country woodlands.

My father was a consummate outdoorsman. He hunted, fished, farmed, gardened, and was a carpenter by trade. The ranch was his base camp and laboratory, where he could fully immerse himself in his passions. It was always buzzing with activity, thanks to his loving and skilled hands.

I have many fond memories of growing up and spending time in that natural environment. It is where I caught my first fish at the age of three, spent hours catching polliwogs in the local creek, rode my single-speed bicycle along quiet country roads to the general store for candy, and gazed at the big, bright stars far away from the light-polluted cityscape.

The ranch was also a place of retreat and welcome for everyone. We regularly hosted extended family, friends, and church groups for overnight stays and celebrations of all kinds, especially around major holidays, including Juneteenth. My dad had a famous saying as people departed: “You have a standing invitation,” meaning that once invited, you were always welcome to return. His exceptional hospitality is still remembered to this day.

I’m thankful for the ways that Outdoor Afro, both as an organization and as a design company, embodies his vision of the world and represents his fatherhood. His legacy centers on joy and hospitality as bedrock values for everyone to learn, enjoy, and feel welcome in outdoor experiences.

While my father is no longer living, and the ranch lands he once tended have gone fallow, I am deeply grateful for the experiences he provided and the values he instilled in me about nature. These values continue through my work and the communities we touch, and I am hopeful they will forever expand.




Hope you enjoyed learning a little more about our founder, Rue Mapp, and the inspiration behind Outdoor Afro. Now we want to hear from you! What else do you want to hear from her? Let us know on social media: @outdoorafroinc.

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