History of Prince George’s County

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1864

Slavery

Prince George’s County voted against the ratification of the emancipation of slavery.

1868

Education

Clinton Grove Elementary School began as the Robeystown School No. 1, District 9. It was the first school established for the African-American community in the Clinton area by the Freedmen’s Bureau to provide education to the children of freed slaves.

1870

Free Blacks

Free Black families living in Prince George’s County prior to the Civil War were not able to acquire titles to the land until the 1870s or later.

1872

Education

Prince George’s County assumed control of the education of African-American children from the Freedmen’s Bureau. The first school for African-Americans constructed and opened by the county was the T.B. Colored School in 1872, followed by a school near Brandywine in 1873. Brandywine was the first school to be totally financed by taxes.

1923

Education

The Frederick Douglass High School became the first high school for African-Americans in Prince George’s County.

1929

Racial Segregation

Deed restrictions and segregated neighborhoods and communities were a common feature. A typical deed restriction by the People’s Cooperative Realty Company, Inc., stated that “The said lots or buildings thereon shall never be rented, leased, or sold, transferred or conveyed to nor shall the same be occupied exclusively by any negro or colored person or person of negro blood.”

1963

Housing

Prince George County’s Chapter of Congress of Racial Equality, a civil rights and fair housing advocacy group, began protests that focused on the racially restrictive Belair subdivision.

1970s

Housing

Black migration into the county began. Real-estate agents used blockbusting tactics in which they sold a house on an all-white block to a Black family, then urged other white families to sell before they got caught in declining property values.

1974

Racial Desegregation

Prince George’s County submitted its Desegregation Implementation plans to the federal government.

1978

County Budget

Prince George’s County established the Tax Reform Initiated by Marylanders, which severely constrained the public facilities budget of the county by capping property taxes and imposing barriers to future increases, thereby reducing the county’s ability and willingness to build quality schools and other public facilities for the new African-American population.

1998

Racial Desegregation

A federal judge ended mandatory busing in Prince George’s County, concluding a 26-year-old government effort to desegregate the schools.

2006

Education

A coalition of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) filed a lawsuit alleging the state duplicates and underfunds programs at HBCUs.

2008

Housing

African-American wealth in Prince George County collapsed in the aftermath of the Great Recession, as a result of disproportionately receiving “sub-prime” mortgages and home equity loans.

2013

Minimum Wage

The District of Columbia, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County raised the minimum wage to $11.50 by 2017.

2013

Community Organizing

Black and Latino groups and Native American leaders protested the Washington Redskins’ football team outside FedEx Field.

2015

Education

Prince George’s County Public Schools opened two new high schools designed to meet the educational needs of immigrant students with limited English language skills.

2016

Environmental Justice

The Maryland Public Service Commission, Department of the Environment, and Department of Natural Resources agreed to enter mediation with Brandywine organizations after the latter filed a federal civil rights complaint over the state’s decision to permit a gas-fired power plant in a community that is 72 percent African-American.

2017

Immigrant Communities

The Hyattsville City Council declared itself as an official “sanctuary city”, backing a bill that prohibited its small local police force from enforcing federal immigration law.

2017

Racial Discrimination

More than 70 officers at the Prince George’s County Police Department signed a complaint filed with the United States Justice Department alleging racial discrimination. The Hispanic National Law Enforcement Association and the United Black Police Officers Association wrote that officers of color are more harshly disciplined and passed up for promotions.

2017

Education

The federal courts ordered Maryland to remedy the lack of investment in the state’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities to resolve a decade-old lawsuit over inequality in public higher education, including Bowie State University, in Prince George’s County.

Sources

  • “Slavery in Maryland.” Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum.
  • “African American History.” Visitprincegeorgescounty.com.
  • The Maryland-National Park and Planning Commission, and Prince George’s County Planning Department. “Chapter 6 The African-American Experience.” Postbellum Archeological Resources in Prince George’s County, Maryland A Historic Context and Research Guide. Mar. 2010.
  • Bors, Phil. “How I Benefited from Unfair Housing.” Blog post. Activelivingbydesign.org. 26 Apr. 2017.
  • McQueen, Michel. “P.G. Legislator Inspires, Infuriates.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 04 Apr. 1984.
  • Hernandez, Arelis R. “Eight Miles from the White House, Hyattsville Embraces ‘Sanctuary’ Label.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 04 Apr. 2017.
  • The Kojo Nnamdi Show. “Allegations of Racial Discrimination among Prince George’s County’s Police.” WAMU. 13 Feb. 2017.
  • Konte, Hawa, and Scott Broom. “DOJ Investigating Claims of Discrimination within Prince George’s Police Department.” WUSA. 03 Oct. 2017.
  • “CGES History.”  Pgcps.org.
  • Cozzens, Lisa. “School Integration in Prince George’s County, Maryland: Introduction.” African American History, 29 June 1998.
  • Hernandez, Arelis R. “Ten Things to Know about TRIM.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 08 Apr. 2015.
  • Tate, Sonsyrea, and Alexander Krughoff. “TRIM Splits Prince George’s.” www.gazette.net, 25 July 2003.
  • Frazier, Lisa. “Judge Ends Busing in Prince George’s.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 2 Sept. 1998.
  • Special to the AFRO. “Timeline of the Maryland HBCU Equality Lawsuit.” Afro, 28 Feb. 2017.
  • Trull, Armando. “Prince George’s County Opening Special Schools for English Language Learners.” WAMU, 3 Mar. 2015.
  • Douglas-Gabriel, Danielle. “Courts Side with Maryland HBCUs in Long-Standing Case over Disparities in State Higher Education.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 9 Nov. 2017.
  • Potts, Monica. “The Collapse of Black Wealth.” The American Prospect, 21 Nov. 2012.
  • Fletcher, Michael. “The American Dream Shatters in Prince George’s County.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 24 Jan. 2015.
  • Austermuhle, Martin. “Minimum Wage Set to Go Up in D.C. And Montgomery County, But Regional Efforts For $15 Remain Divided.” WAMU, 30 June 2017.
  • Lazo, Luz. “Prince George’s Votes to Raise Minimum Wage.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 27 Nov. 2013.
  • “Maryland Agencies to Mediate Civil Rights Complaint Over Prince George’s County Power Plant.” Earthjustice, 31 Oct. 2016.
  • Vargas, Theresa. “Redskins Name Condemned by Black and Latino Groups Outside FedEx Field.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 26 Nov. 2013.