Prince George's County, MD


Prince George's County Maryland Incorporated and Unincorporated areas North Brentwood Highlighted. Credits: Arkyan, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Prince George's County, MD


Prince Georges (PG) County has a long history of black landownership, which enabled wealth creation.

North Brentwood was the first incorporated African-American municipality in Prince George's County, as well as in the Washington metropolitan area. North Brentwood's first residents were former slaves of local planters and Civil War veterans. The first lot was sold to an African-American by the name of Henry Randall in 1891. Randall built a house on Holladay Avenue (now Rhode Island Avenue) and later operated a coal and ice supply company. Several family members moved in and, by 1905, the community had become known as Randall Town. In 1924, the town was incorporated as North Brentwood. Independent businesses sprang up, including several grocery stores, coal and ice suppliers, a barber and a women's hairdresser, a plumber and carpenters, a doctor and a dentist, and even a lunchroom and a tavern, where Pearl Bailey sang. The town also boasted a Methodist and a Baptist church, and a public and private school.

Today, North Brentwood is a key part of the Gateway Arts District-- notably as the home of the new Prince George's County Museum of African-American History.

PG County also featured another early African-American community: Glenarden. In 1906, Glenarden was originally farmland. However, Glenarden truly began in 1910 due to the work of W. R. Smith, since he chose to buy up property to develop the WB&A line that helped with bringing in African-Americans.

In 2002 the County was home to 28,389 black-owned firms in 2002, a 42 percent increase over the previous 5 years. However, the Great Recession devastated Black wealth in PG County, with home values not rebounding at the rate of nearby majority-white areas. Coupled with predatory lending, this has left many homeowners with unsustainable mortgages and negative net worth. Despite this, PG County continues to be home to the highest concentration of high net worth Black Americans.

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