Prince George's County Department of Parks and Recreation
Abraham Hall
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Black History Program

The M-NCPPC Black History Program documents, preserves and interprets the African American history of Prince George’s County throughout the year. The mission of the Black History Program is to encourage public engagement with the county's African American history and its historical and cultural resources by providing educational, interpretive programs and exhibits for the general public and school age community. The program assists historical societies, the general public and local communities in documenting and celebrating their African American heritage.

The Black History Program began in 1982 as a survey project designed to inventory African American sites in the county. The original impetus came from community activists and residents who were concerned that buildings significant to the history of African American communities were being lost due to neglect and development. The Program began conducting primary research and locating original source documents such as census records, deeds, certificates of freedom. These records are used to supplement the undocumented and oral history of county residents.

For its 1996 Tricentennial celebration, Prince George’s County began to evaluate and to celebrate its resources including its African American heritage. The Black History Program’s contribution to this year long countywide celebration was an exhibit entitled Rough Diamonds: The Mid-Atlantic Leagues and Sandlot Heroes. The exhibit profiled Negro League baseball teams such as the Homestead Grays and the Pittsburg Crawfords which during their off season came to the county to play with the Washington Black Sox, Prince George’s County’s premier sandlot team.

The public's enthusiastic support of Rough Diamonds translated into an increased support of the Black History Program and its other interpretative efforts such as The M-NCPPC's annual Black History Month exhibit. Since then the Black History Program has installed increasingly well received Black History Month exhibits including SSS…When the Iron was Hot: African American Ironworkers, Strong Foundation: African American Architects, Seasoned to Taste: A History of African American Food & Foodways, and What’s Hair Got to Do with It?: The History of African American Hair.

Another significant effort of the Black History Program was its work with the Sons and Daughters of Abraham and other staff of The M-NCPPC to complete the renovation of Abraham Hall. The Black History Program is currently operating out of Abraham Hall and strives to preserve Abraham Hall as an important neighborhood center that continues to serve the needs of the surrounding community.