Own Your History: in Prince George’s County

Posted March 22, 2018

The famous author George Orwell once wrote “those who control the present, control the past, and those who control the past control the future.”

Young people often consider history to be a boring school subject that requires memorizing obscure dates and hard to pronounce names. What few people realize is that understanding one´s history is essential for discovering deeper identity, comprehending how your community came to be how it is, as well as forging ideas for how to approach the future.

The philosopher and poet George Santayana wisely advised that “those who do not know history’s mistakes are doomed to repeat them.” In the case of African American history, there is certainly a lot of history that should not be repeated, and the best way to avoid that is to discover the rich history of African Americans.

While school textbooks often reduce African American history to the themes of slavery and the fight for civil rights, there is a huge amount of history that is unknown an ignored by school curriculums. Allowing people of all ages to discover the richness of their cultural legacy while learning about inspiring, brave, and visionary African American history from throughout history helps to foster pride while also creating a deeper understanding about the current issues that African Americans face.

The Prince George African American Museum

The Prince George African American Museum is located in North Brentwood, Maryland, a short drive from downtown DC. This museum has the specific objective of highlighting the local history of African Americans in the Prince George’s county area. Their mission is “to celebrate and inspire the Community through the cultivation, preservation, and presentation of the cultural and artistic contributions of African Americans in Prince George’s County, Maryland.”

The museum initially began as a historical society from North Brentwood, to celebrate the rich cultural heritage of the first municipality in Prince George’s County incorporated by African Americans.

Today, however, the Prince George African American Museum has expanded into the community, has received its 501(c)(3) status and operates several different community outreach programs. Besides drawing attention to the rich local and regional African American history, the museum also offers Arts & Cultural Literacy Professional Development Workshops for younger people.

Understanding that learning and appreciating local history should begin at a young age, the Prince George African American Museum also has an “Early Keepers” Program where young learners can explore multicultural heritage through story-telling, music, movement/dance, and arts & crafts. These programs allow parents to spend quality time with their children while engaging in fun, educational, and culturally rich activities that incorporate problem-solving, math, and reading skills.

If you have never experienced the unique vibe that this great community institution offers, a great opportunity to visit the museum is coming up on April 7th. LoveFest #4 is a great event hosted by Onustees where LOVE is in the air and you can also learn about the history of your region.

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