All posts by Eli

A History Book for Everyone

Sojourner Truth wax figure on display in the Truth Room at the Oxon Hill Branch. Image courtesy the Prince George's County Memorial Library System.

Please join us the Lakeland Community Heritage Project at the Oxon Hill Branch Library this Saturday November 21 at 2:30 PM for “Preserving Lakeland’s Heritage: A History Book For Everyone” a presentation by the authors of Lakeland: African-Americans in College Park. This event is graciously sponsored by the Prince George’s County Truth Branch of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History and the Sojourner Truth African American Research Collection. The presentation on Lakeland will include photos from the book and excerpts from oral histories.

The Oxon Hill Branch Library was built in 1966-67 on the site of the Sojourner Truth Elementary School, a black school that educated educated African-American children from several communities in southern Prince George’s County from the 1940s its close in the mid-1960’s. In addition to the incredible Sojourner Truth African American Research Collection–itself named for the school–the Oxon Hill library features six painted glass panels, entitled  “However far the stream flows, it never forgets its source” [Yoruba Proverb] by Nancy Gutkin O’Neil. Installed in 2006, this artwork is designed to “whet the appetite” of library visitors to explore the shelves, resources, and programming at Oxon Hill Branch Library. If you would like to make a day trip out of the event, you could even include a visit to  the historic 1928 Oxon Hill Manor.

College Park Arts Exchange this Friday

Old Parish House
Old Parish House

Join us this Friday, October 9 at the historic Old Parish House, 4711 Knox Road, College Park, MD for our presentation at the College Park Arts Exchange. Beginning at 7:00 PM, Maxine Gross, President of the Lakeland Community Heritage Project, will be presenting a slideshow of images from Lakeland: African Americans in College Park and sharing audio excerpts from Lakeland oral histories. Please join us to learn more about the history of Lakeland or to share your own memories of College Park’s past.

Built in the early 1700s, the Old Parish House originally served as a dairy barn on the Calvert estate. The landmark Riversdale Mansion, built in the early 1800s, belonged to the same property. The Old Parish House became the first home for St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church. During much of the twentieth century, it was the meeting place for the College Park Women’s Club who then donated the building to the City of College Park in the late 1990s.

Thank you to our friends and sponsors

We are grateful to our supporters with Chick Fil A of Silver Spring, the City of College Park, Embry AME Church, First Baptist Church of College Park, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Ronald Johnson, Negro League Legends Hall of Fame, Eric Olson and Prince George’s County, Rita’s of College Park, Salvation AME Zion Church, University of Maryland-College Park, and Washington Brazilian Seventh Day Adventist Church. Generous support from these organizations and individuals, as well as the hard work of Lakeland Community Heritage Project members, made Lakeland Heritage Weekend a wonderful experience for everyone who participated in the event.

Further thanks is due to Franklin’s Restaurant, Brewery, and General Store for hosting our fundraiser last week and to everyone who dropped by for a meal or a drink. Please join us for one of our upcoming events throughout the fall or next year at Lakeland Heritage Day 2010 on Sunday, September 26.

Potluck Tonight and Franklin’s on Tuesday

We will have much more to share later this week, but tonight we have a short video from our potluck dinner. Join us for the second day of Lakeland Heritage Weekend tomorrow, then keep an eye on our Flickr photostream over the next few days.

If this video makes you a bit hungry, be sure to join us this Tuesday, September 22 at Franklin’s Brewery & General Store in Hyattsville, Maryland. When you mention Lakeland to your server, Franklin’s will donate 20% of your bill to the Lakeland Community Heritage Project!

Always Meetn’ n’ Eatn’ in Lakeland this Weekend

We are all counting down the days until Lakeland Heritage Weekend: Always Meetn’ n’ Eatn’ in Lakeland this Saturday and Sunday. Lakeland Heritage Weekend began in 2007 as an event to share images and stories from Lakeland’s past. This year we are particularly excited to share a published collection of those images and stories–our new book, Lakeland: African-Americans in College Park, from Aracadia Publishing. Beginning on September 19th we are meeting in the College Park Community Center at 10:00 AM with a discussion moderated by Bob Catlin on the role of food in community and family gatherings. After a break at 12:00 PM for lunch, Violetta Sharps-Jones is presenting a workshop on Creating Family Trees. If you’re interested in the afternoon workshop please let us know by e-mailing or calling 301-464-5113.

Saturday evening we are hosting a potluck dinner and a distinguished guest lecture from Psyche Williams-Forson. Dr. Williams-Forson is a nationally recognized food ways specialist and will provide a short talk on the cultural history and meaning of foods. Please call 301-345-3692 or email to to expect you and what delicious dish you are bringing to the meal. We expect each contribution to the dinner will be accompanied by a story about what the dish means to you and your family. We will be collecting recipes at the event to compile a book on food in Lakeland.

On Sunday, September 20th we are meeting at the corner of 51st Street and Lakeland Road by the First Baptist Church of College Park and the Embry AME Church for a joint service at 11:00 AM. The service will conclude by 1:00 PM, followed by an Antique Car Parade, a delicious lunch, exhibits, book sales, face painting, balloon animals, music, free Rita’s ice, and more. You are all welcome to join us for the whole weekend or just a single afternoon. Find more details on Lakeland Heritage Weekend and our other upcoming events and use the map below for directions to the College Park Community Center or the joint service on Sunday.

Events in Laurel & Berwyn

LCHP Book table at Laurel Emancipation Day Celebration
LCHP Book table at Laurel Emancipation Day

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.

LCHP and students at Berwyn Day
LCHP at Berwyn Day

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.

Lakeland in the News

Image courtesy Leah L. Jones/The Gazette.
Image courtesy Leah L. Jones/The Gazette.

Over the past few weeks, we have had the fortunate opportunity to share Lakeland’s story with a number of local newspapers, television and radio stations.

The Washington Post shared an announcement when our book went on sale and Prince George’s Community Television sat down for an interview with Lakeland resident Karen Campbell.

David Hill with The Gazette featured Lakeland residents Leonard Smith and Mary Hollomand in his story on our new book. Mr. Smith, a resident of Lakeland since 1941 and a member of the Lakeland Community Heritage Project, provided his book review,

I think it’s going to be excellent for the simple reason that it goes back to the old Lakeland… The older people love it because it brings back memories and the younger people will love it because they didn’t know the history.

In her story for the the Prince George’s Sentinel Jessica Bauer discovered,

If a picture is worth a thousand words, than the newly released book detailing the Lakeland area’s history through old photographs tells the story better than words ever could.

If you are interested in learning more about Lakeland or purchasing a copy of Lakeland: African Americans in College Park for yourself, get in touch at, become a fan on Facebook, or meet us in person at one of our upcoming events.