Historically Black Communities of Sandy Spring

For more than 300 years the Sandy Spring area has been home to generations of African and African American families. They came enslaved with the first white settlers. They hewed frontier plantations out of ancient woods. They found freedom and became landowners themselves; others were forced to wait until after Emancipation. They helped drive the local economies and move the area forward.

On these pages will appear the stories of more than fifteen historically black communities built in the Sandy Spring area in the 19th and early 20th century.

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By 1900 over 1,000 black residents lived in the area – a number far exceeding the white population. Geographical segregation pushed black residents to the fringes of white settlements. But they formed their own communities, separate but complete with schools, churches, stores, meeting halls – communities that matured to self-sufficiency.

 

This is an evolving research project, with updates regularly made.  Community participation is welcome, to share memories, photos, oral histories, and so on.  If you would like to get involved, please contact us.

Historically Black Communities of Sandy Spring has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.

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