Black History in Prince George's County

African Americans have played a significant role in the history of Prince George’s County that are illustrated in numerous historical sites, schools, and settlements, such as St. Paul’s (Free Hope Baptist) Church, Blacksox Park, Abraham Hall, St. Mary’s Beneficial Society Hall, Mount Nebo Church, the Charles Duckett Log Cabin, Dorsey Chapel, the Northampton Slave Quarter Site and Archaeological ParkBelair MansionDarnall’s Chance House MuseumElizabeth Keckly Burial Site, and the Marietta House Museum.

Free black families living in the county prior to the Civil War were not able to acquire titles to land until the 1870’s or later. However, over decades and multiple generations, black families began to prosper.

For over 300 years, African Americans have raised families and built communities that have been vital to the growth and development of Prince George’s County and its history. Men and women have established neighborhoods, established businesses, infused the cultural landscape through arts and technology, and built structures, which have survived through years of change.

The African-American Heritage Sites Guide is available for you to take a visual journey to African American historical sites and buildings through guided tours (specific locations) or self-guided tours. Black history is America's history all year long. 

Experience special activities, programs, and events held at our Historic sites. Due to COVID-19, these facilities are currently closed, however virtual tours are available.

History, Heritage and the Underground Railroad

Maryland is recognized as one of the most powerful destinations for authentic Underground Railroad history as it commemorates all those involved in the Underground Railroad, including Maryland's courageous Harriet Tubman, the brilliant Frederick Douglass, and thousands of freedom seekers. Maryland is truly unique in the number of places that tell inspiring stories of the heroic men, women and children who fought for freedom from slavery along the Underground Railroad.

In Prince George’s County, we invite you to learn about their heroic past, which is more interesting when you experience it firsthand. The following museums offer tours and excursions, which offer virtual tours at this time.

Belair Mansion
12207 Tulip Grove Drive
Bowie, MD  20715
301 809-3089
For more than 100 years, the Ogle and Tasker families living at Belair Mansion struggled to keep their enslaved people from running away. *When open, the featured exhibit “African-American Slaves at Belair,” tells the stories of resistance and flight.

Darnall’s Chance House Museum
14800 Governor Oden Bowie Drive
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
301 952-8010
Darnall’s Chance was built in 1742 for James Wardrop and served as the home of many prominent tobacco merchants. The site depended on the labor of enslaved African Americans. Eight individuals attempted to gain their freedom by escaping from here in the 19th century. 

Elizabeth Keckly Burial Site
National Harmony Memorial Park
7101 Sheriff Road
Largo, MD 20792
301 772-0900
Mrs. Keckly worked on behalf of the newly emancipated enslaved people that sought refuge in the nation’s capital. Keckly raised funds and organized the Contraband Relief Association at Union Bethel AME Church.

Marietta House Museum
5626 Bell Station
Glenn Dale, MD  20769
301 464-5291
Marietta House is the federal-style home of Supreme Court Justice Gabriel Duvall, who wrote the Supreme Court opinion that slaves could testify in court.  However Duvall also owned slaves. Between 1814 and 1859, three enslaved people fled Marietta House. The historic house museum interprets 19th century living.

Northampton Slave Quarters and Archeological Park
10915 Water Port Court
Bowie, MD  20721
301 627-1286
Numerous enslaved people escaped from Northampton plantation, owned by the Sprigg family from 1800 to 1836. Rebuilt foundations of two slave quarters and interpretive signs detail the lives of enslaved people who lived here. The park is self-guided. 

   Download a PDF of this GuideAfrican American Heritage Sites Guide Prince George County, Maryland 

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