Oral History of Mrs. Diane Weems Ligon, completed at her home on April 23, 2011. Mrs. Ligon discusses her family's connection to Lakeland, as one of the founding families. She describes how her grandparents and parents met and what they did for a living. Her parents were both civil servants, her father working in the District of Columbia, and her mother at Fort Meade in Columbia, MD. She discusses her siblings, a brother and sister, and her own experience being born and growing up in Lakeland. She describes the different schools she attended, Lakeland Elementary, Fairmount Heights High School, Howard University, and New York University. Ms. Ligon attended segregated schools throughout her education, until she reached graduate school at NYU. She discusses the effects of attending segregated schools, including the lack of material resources for African-American schools, the exceptional quality of teachers in those schools, favorite teachers, and after school activities. She also speaks about Prince George's County's resistance to integration, and the effects segregation had on her life as she experienced it both in the county, in the District of Columbia, and through discussions with her parents in her home. She explains the unity of the community of Lakeland with the surrounding African American communities and how Lakeland was the choice location for the high school because of its position in the middle of the Route 1 corridor. Mrs. Ligon discusses a trip she took after sophomore year in college to India, which was the first time she lived with people who practiced religions other than Christianity, which was an eye opening experience. She later explains how the trip to India helped her transition to graduate school, where again, she was living with people from different cultures and religions. Until graduate school she attended mainly all African-American institutions, and outside of the trip to India, had never lived outside of Lakeland. She describes leaving graduate school early to pursue a career in social work, a career choice she attributes to her rearing in Lakeland. She remained in New York City for fifteen years before returning to Lakeland with her daughter. Upon returning to Lakeland she worked for the District of Columbia government, and then for the Prince George's County Health Department, where she currently still works part-time after coming out of retirement. She describes the difference in her education and the education of her daughter in Prince George's County in the 1980s, not only the different between segregation and integration, but the quality of the education her daughter received. She also describes the Urban Renewal project in the community, and her perspective as someone who was not in the community when the redevelopment happened and as someone whose family was not displaced. She said the redevelopment had both good and negative impacts on the community, and how though her family wasn't negatively impacted, she understand why some families were and are so upset about the project. She briefly discusses the impact of having the University of Maryland as a neighbor to the community. She explains it was a place for employment, but it was also a constant reminder during segregation of where African Americans couldn't attend. Throughout the interview Mrs. Ligon discusses the small community experience for African Americans, their sense of place, self, and rootedness. She explains that Lakeland's story is part of a larger narrative for African American history, and that the history of Lakeland is probably similar to many of these small communities. She also disputes the idea of education as a way out explaining that education was not necessarily a way out, but a way for people to achieve more, and have more opportunities for work.
Interview transcript Delphine Gross with her grandmother, Agnes Gross for a class in the 1980s Agnes Gross' house was on the land of the College Park Community Center, but was taken bc of eminent domain. They then relocated to a property in on 54th Ave. Agnes Gross is the youngest of 14 siblings. The interview is marked up with notes from the teacher. The first page is the interviewer asking Mrs. Gross about her family, her hometown, and when she was born, more about her background in Murkirk - her schooling, the church she attended, etc. Asking about a nearby school, Mrs. Gross's father's land, and Mrs. Gross's work history. Going into detail about Mrs. Gross's family, what she stored during WWII, and her siblings., More about Mrs. Gross's siblings - then more of her work history. When doing domestic work, she was paid as little as a quarter an hour. Mrs. Gross raised her baby-sitting rate to a flat five dollars, which was somewhat expensive at the time. For context, she also says that you could get the best pork chops for fifty cents. She also speaks on how some things, mainly convenience, are better now than they were when she was younger, and how some things are worse (such as crime). Speaking of how times have changed, such as the segregation in public spaces she faced when she was younger. Also speaking about life during the Depression - you would help anybody who came to your door., Working conditions - people, especially black people, were paid very low wages. Often they'd work until they physically couldn't anymore - she speaks of old women who would "pull themselves up on the streetcar" because they needed the money from working.
Oral History conducted with Jennifer Campbell-Dawkins, at the Edwards' home.
On Thursday February 07, 2013, members of the Lakeland Community Heritage Project (LCHP) visited Dr. Mary Corbin Sies's class in "Social and Ethnic Issues in Historic Preservation" at Holzapfel Hall on the University of Maryland Campus (Seminar Rm 1108). The members that participated in the discussion were: Violetta Sharps Jones, Avis Matthews, Maxine Gross, Pearl Lee Campbell Edwards, and James Edwards III. The discussion was centered around the semester-long project the students will be working on regarding Lakeland and Urban Renewal. There was also discussion of Lakeland's history, it's relationship to the University of Maryland, segregation in College Park and in the Prince George's County school system, as well as everyday life in Lakeland.