Last Saturday, a group of volunteers joined St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Laurel, Maryland for an annual celebration of Emancipation Day. Established in 1890, St. Mark’s United Methodist Church served as the center of the African-American community in Laurel known as “The Grove.” Sandra Johnson, a historian for St. Mark’s United Methodist and a member of the Laurel Historical Society, wrote an informative essay on the African-American experience in Laurel available here (pdf). Take a look at the Laurel Historical Society on Flickr to see images of St. Mark’s, the Laurel Grove School which served African-American children in Laurel through 1962, and the African-American Laurel All-Stars baseball team. Our own photos from the celebration are on the Lakeland Flickr photostream.
We stayed a little closer to home this weekend, giving a walking tour of Lakeland to a group of graduate students from the University of Maryland and then joining our neighbors for Berwyn Day 2009. Berwyn is a residential neighborhood in the City of College Park established, like Lakeland, in the 1890s. Prior to the availability of home mail delivery, residents in Lakeland walked to Berwyn to pick up mail at a shared post office. Other Lakeland residents attended services at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church.