Lakeland School 1st Grade report card of Jean Ann Gray from 1940-41 school year. Gray attended the single race elementary school located on Winnipeg Street in the eastern section of Lakeland. The school was a "Rosenwald School" built in 1925.
Subject: Lakeland and Education
An oral history interview conducted with Betty Greene during Lakeland Heritage Weekend 2007. Betty Louise Thomas Greene was born on September 13, 1938 at Freedman’s Hospital in Washington D.C. to Annie Venerva Hebron Thomas and Sam (probably Samuel) E. (possibly Edward) Thomas. Betty, the last of eight children, was born when her mother was in her 50s. Betty married her husband, Ambrose Augustine Greene, on June 29, 1957 at Holy Redeemer Church in College Park, Maryland, after he left the Army. Betty and Ambrose both lived in Lakeland, and developed their relationship by going to weekend dances at the Lakeland Tavern. They had one daughter, Danita Darcel Greene Costley. Betty also has two grandsons and three great grandchildren, whom she enjoys visiting in Arlington, Virginia as often as possible. Betty belonged to several community organizations, including the House of Ruth and the Lakeland Civic Association, and is a charter member of Post 140 John Henry Seaburn, College Park (which merged with the American Legion Auxiliary, Post 275, Glenarden.) She is a proud lifelong member of the Embry A.M.E. Church in Lakeland, which was her parents’ church and where she was baptized as an infant. Betty has fond memories of growing up as a child in Lakeland, emphasizing that while her family did not have much, they were very loving towards one another, and belonged to a community where everyone looked out for each other. The children would generally create their own entertainment by “playing store” and “playing house.” They even emulated the behavior of adults and once had a funeral for a dead bird. Betty and her siblings would also collect discarded glass soda bottles and redeem them for penny candy. They would either walk up the tracks to Berwyn, or patronize Mack’s Store or Black’s Store in Lakeland. Her father worked for a coal and feed business in Berwyn. He did the weekly grocery shopping on Saturday, which was payday; the family could look forward to hot dogs and beans for dinner, and as a special treat for the kids, a box of animal crackers. Betty’s mother, a domestic worker for families in Berwyn, knew how to be creative with food, so the family never went hungry. Betty also recalled that her mother got the best hand-me-down clothes from her employers for her children. Betty explained that there was no lack of discipline in her childhood, and that her parents used a switch to discipline their children. Rather than feeling like it was unnecessary, Betty feels that she’s a better person for having been disciplined, though she does hope that parents have learned other methods of disciplining their children. She also recalls being disciplined by her teacher, Richard Brown, by having her hand smacked with a ruler, while attending school in the two-room schoolhouse in east Lakeland. Betty expressed her disappointment over urban renewal in Lakeland because the program did not live up to the expectations that had been promised. The community did need some subsidized housing, but she notes that most of the apartments and lower income houses that replaced single-family houses and small businesses have become student housing; investors are buying homes for sale in the community and renting to students. She feels that this is a disadvantage for the community. Drugs are a problem in Lakeland now, and Betty attributes this to the fact that young people do not want to work at a minimum wage job, and turn down their noses at manual labor. Betty describes her family’s various housing situations. As a child, Betty lived at 5407 Detroit Avenue, now the site of Lake Artemesia (she mentions that she could walk over to Lake Artemesia today but would not be able to locate where her house had been.) They shared a double house with the Stewart family, renting it from the Kleiner family. Betty’s mother eventually went to live with Betty’s sister in Laurel. After Betty and Ambrose married in 1957, they moved in with Ambrose’s grandmother Elizabeth Greene, whose house was located, along with the houses of the Gray and Gross family, on the current location of Paint Branch Elementary School. After some moving around, including a stay in an apartment on Emerson Street in Hyattsville, Betty and Ambrose settled in a house owned by Ambrose’s mother, at 8001 51st Avenue, where Betty lives today. She raised not only her daughter, but also her brother’s four children, in this home. She cites raising her family while working for twenty-seven years as a cleaner at the Paint Branch Elementary School as her proudest personal accomplishment. Betty’s greatest joy in life comes from her involvement in the church. She has served in practically every capacity and church office, and still participates in church activities and charity events, like feeding the homeless. Her love of God and her faith have sustained her through some difficult times in her life, including the tragic loss of her mother in a house fire, a devastating blow for Betty since her mother had a significant influence on her life. To this day, Betty thanks her mother for all the wisdom she imparted, even if Betty did not appreciate the advice at the time. Wrapping up the interview, Betty recalls that she and her siblings looked forward to church, since it was their time to get away from the house. But, their mother’s wild and joyous behavior at church would embarrass them. With a knowing glance, Betty’s mother told her that one day, she would understand. Betty now finds herself acting just like her mother in church. And she couldn’t be happier.
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.
Coach Estee B. Wells and co-captains Robert Moore and Elijah Norris led the Lakeland High School football squad to a second undefeated season and the state football championship in 1946. Pictured on the field at Lakeland High School are the coach and members of the football team.
Jeffrey Briscoe, Douglas Few, James Gray, and George Randall were Lakeland’s favorite sons in 1971, when they led Parkdale High School’s Panthers to a state basketball title. Briscoe, Gray, and Randall were members of the first class of Lakeland students to attend the new high school. They had sharpened their skills in Lakeland’s schoolyard and as teammates at Greenbelt Junior High School.
The 1966 fourth-grade class of College Park Elementary School is shown below. Elston Lomax is seated in the first row, third from the left. Fellow Lakelander Romonia Sellers is next to him. Wayne Claiborne is standing in the last row, second from the right.
This interview was conducted with Gela Sandage Brooks on April 27, 2011 at her home in Upper Marlboro, MD. Ms. Brooks discusses her time as a student at Lakeland School, Greenbelt Jr. High, High Point High School, and the University of Maryland. Ms. Brooks also talks about being a teacher at Lakeland Elementary and Paint Branch Elementary.
Mr. Arthur Dock was born and raised in North Brentwood, Maryland. His father was a sand and gravel employee, and his mother, who worked as a domestic, passed away when Mr. Dock was a young boy. His aunt helped to raise Arthur and his three siblings. Mr. Dock recalls that North Brentwood, where he attended elementary school in the 1940â€™s, was a close-knit African-American community where everyone was concerned about the educational and social well-being of the children. The schools and churches played a large role in safeguarding the security and well-being of the community. He describes some experiences of attending a segregated school, including how teachers were short of supplies and what books they had were handed down from white schools (usually Mt. Rainier or Hyattsville.) Mr. Dock attended Lakeland High School from 1946-1950, and was part of the last graduating class of Lakeland High School. Like other African American students in Prince George's County, he rode the bus to Lakeland. Again, he recalls the second-hand materials that the school received, but fondly remembers the quality education he received there. Mr. Dock feels strongly that the teachers made an exceptional educational experience for the students, preparing them for a life and career in the segregated world. One important lesson he recalls is that African American students were taught to speak well, use appropriate English, be on time, and look decent. Mr. Dock formed a close bond with one teacher - Mrs. Walker and speculates that she took special care of him because his mother had passed when he was young. He stayed in touch with Mrs. Walker until her death in the mid-2000â€™s. This serves as one example of how the teachers in Lakeland wove themselves into the fabric of the community, taking the time to visit students at home, serving as mentors and role models. Most of Mr. Dock's reminiscences center around his conviction that folk made the school“ especially the teachers. It is not surprising, then, that Mr. Dock went to Bowie University, after graduating Lakeland High School in 1950, to become a teacher. His experiences at Bowie cemented the idea that education had a purpose and could be used to market yourself to the job market. After graduating Bowie University in 1954, and spending a two-year stint in the army, Mr. Dock began teaching in the Prince George's County school system, starting at a two-room school in Holly Grove, Maryland. But the segregated school system began to change, after the Brown vs Board of Education decision in 1954 forced an end to legal segregation. Mr. Dock seemed more affected by the fact that the integration of schools in Prince George's County caused competent black teachers to move to mostly-white schools, signaling an end to their effectiveness. Mr. Dock enjoyed teaching, especially science, and it is obvious that his teaching style was influenced by the education he had received in Lakeland, and that he attempted to replicate that experience for children during integration, a time of great social upheaval for adults and for children in Prince George's County. He was promoted from teacher to Helping Teacher (a quasi-supervisor for teachers) and then to Vice-Principal at Concord Elementary in District Heights. After two years of training, Mr. Dock became the principal of Ardenwood Elementary School, a country club school in the County. From there, he went to the decidedly less glamorous Bladensburg Elementary School, which he enjoyed immensely for about two years. He spent the rest of his career in a middle school implementation team position that he did not like, as it kept him out of the classroom and away from teaching children. Mr. Dock emphasizes that one of the major drawbacks of the integration process was that talented black teachers were sent to white schools, where they were not as appreciated and were decidedly less effective. He saw his role as trying to make the transition to integration smooth for the teachers and the students, implementing new teaching procedures and curriculum that seemed to replicate the educational experience of Lakeland and help the students to market themselves for the outside world. He also wanted to properly assign teachers to subjects where they had an expertise or strength. He pushed to instill discipline in the students and have the teachers set expectations, or benchmarks, in the learning process so that students could mark their progress. Finally, Mr. Dock emphasized the importance, at the time, of athletics in the schools, and how the students were able to travel around the county. Athletics became another field in which African-American students could achieve success in their segregated world. Recorded at Caroline Hall, University of Maryland College Park.
An oral history interview conducted with Elwood Gross by Eli Pousson as part of an IMPART funded oral history research project.
A conversation with Violetta Sharps Jones on her experiences growing up and going to school in Lakeland during segregation. Quotes: "All of the teachers were amazing the teachers, at the Lakeland schools, made sure every student was educated." "I always appreciated the words of encouragement I got from neighbors." " The Lakeland community was close knit family." "Everyone in the Lakeland community knew and looked out for one another." "Even though Lakeland students faced segregation and desegregation, it never hindered their educational and family values." Recorded in Ms. Jones' home in Bowie, MD.
This interview of Dervy Lomax by Neil Cohen is one of two interviews Mr. Lomax has given as part of the Lakeland Community Heritage Project's oral history archive. The interview is broken into two parts: basic biographical data about himself and his family and the impact living in Lakeland has had upon him, personally. Dervy Lomax was born December 20, 1923 in Berwyn. He became a part of the Lakeland community when he came to Lakeland for elementary school. Mr. Lomax recalls the community watching out for his wellbeing, when neighbors told his parents of his misadventures with a well/spring in an empty field on his route to school. Dervy Lomax married a woman named Thelma in 1953 at First Baptist Church in College Park. They remain married at the time of the interview. Mr. Lomax recalls competing for Thelma's hand with a man who would be the best man at Thelma and Dervy's wedding. When she felt he was taking too much time to propose, an aunt pressured him not to be too choosy or to wait too long. The couple has two sons, Gregory Lomax, born March 6, 1954 and Elson Lomax, born November 28, 1956. Mr. Lomax's parents were Etelka Johnson and Charles Lomax, both born in 1902. Etelka was born and lived in Lakeland all her life. Her parents were Blanche and Charles Johnson, of Bladensburg and Lakeland, respectively. Charles Lomax was born in Muirkirk and grew up in Berwyn Heights. His mother was Henrietta Lomax and she and her husband lived in Muirkirk. As a member of the Lakeland Community, Mr. Lomax was involved with the E.L.K.S. and American Legion, as well as being President of the County Boys Club and Serving on the City Boys Club. He is also a long-standing member of the First Baptist Church of College Park. During high school Dervy Lomax was a pitcher on the school baseball team. When he joined the Navy after graduating from high school, Mr. Lomax continued to play. Once he returned to Lakeland, he joined the community baseball team and recalls his time playing as some of the happiest times in the community. He was so talented and loved by the community that he remembers being urged to pitch in games when he was not even scheduled to play. Mr. Lomax remembers some of his most disappointing times as a member of the Lakeland community as being connected to his involvement in local politics. Starting in 1956, just after he returned from the Navy, Mr. Lomax joined Mary (Williams) Holloman in addressing the City Council about the cost of blacktop on Navahoe Street. Mr. Lomax (who was acting as spokesman for Lakeland) was asked if he was a registered voter and, because of his recent service, he was not, so his concerns were not heard by the Council. He ran for Council in 1957 and was elected. During his time serving on the council, Mr. Lomax emphasizes that he demanded respect and gave respect to his peers in return. Despite respecting one another, the Council continued to avoid addressing his concerns through their votes, whenever possible. The proudest accomplishments in Dervy Lomax's life both centered around education of Lakeland youth. First, he played a large part in getting a school in Lakeland after the old school was earmarked as a school for slow learners, a tactic often employed to remove schools for colored children. Committees of black communities were organized along the Route 1 corridor to discuss where the new school should be built, but the school board also held a non-disclosed, whites only meeting in which they decided to build the new school in Berwyn. Because Mr. Lomax was informed of this meeting by his white friends, he was able to address the school board about their misconduct when they held the official meeting in which all communities were present. As a result, the Superintendent of schools agreed that the school should be in Lakeland. Mr. Lomax also appealed to the State Board of Education for integrated schools while his oldest son was entering high school. During the appeal, colored students were being bussed to Fairmont Heights School from College Park, but Gregory was taught by a private tutor, in order to keep his education on track without compromising Mr. Lomax's appeal. The Lomax's won the appeal and Gregory was allowed to choose between Fairmont and College Park High Schools the following year. He attended College Park. The interview continues with Dervy Lomax addressing various influences in his life. He starts by sharing that religion allowed him to successfully work with the public without being negatively influenced by the lack of personal respect that often accompanied his interactions. For example, when Mr. Lomax was successful in petitioning for code enforcement in Lakeland, many of the landlords in Lakeland were unhappy with him. His faith allowed him to grapple with the dilemmas of doing what was best for his community even when members of his community were unhappy with him. Religion also allowed him to overcome the dishonesty he encountered on the City Council. Finally, religion played a role in his ability to deal with Urban Renewal. A further discussion of Urban Renewal in Lakeland will be available in a later interview, according to this recording. Dervy Lomax was also influenced by two important people in his life. Charles Johnson, his grandfather, was a politically oriented person who kept track of current events. Mr. Lomax spent time discussing these events with his grandfather and even listened to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, live on the radio, with Mr. Johnson. From this relationship, Mr. Lomax developed an interest in politics. Mr. Lomax's mother imparted on him the belief that education was important. He attributes his beliefs, "you have to be educated to do something in this world" and "If you don't have nothing up in your head, you don't have nothing in your pocket" to his mother. The subject of Urban Renewal in Lakeland is revisited again, briefly, as being the event to have caused the most significant change in the community. Mr. Lomax expresses disappointment that many families did not return to live in the new houses that were built after Urban Renewal, despite the input they had in the rebuilding process. He also expresses regret that older members of the community are now selling their homes to owners who rent them to college students. Students do not respect the community and the community is deteriorating as a result. The most important events to impact Dervy Lomax's life are his marriage of 54 years and raising his two sons. He wishes his sons would marry and run for office, following in his footsteps. He also wishes for grandchildren. When asked about special childhood memories, Mr. Lomax returns to his memories of sports in the community. During his childhood, Lakeland was divided geographically, into the Southwest, Railroad Bulldogs, and Babyland areas of the community. Teams would form according to these divisions to play all sorts of games (football, baseball, horseshoes, etc). Mr. Lomax also fondly recalls lawn parties being held by local churches and lakes freezing during the winter and being used as skating rinks for the community and the university students. Those same lakes were used for swimming during the summer. At the close of the interview, Dervy Lomax states that he hopes the community will remember him as dedicated to Lakeland and that he will continue to fight for them as long as I have breath in my body".
A conversation with mother and daughter at their home in Lakeland, on their experiences with education and segregation while living in Lakeland. Themes and Quotes from the interview: "There is value in education and it was never an option to go to college, it was an expectation." Almost like home schooling~ Wilmer Gross "There was special care put into each student at Lakeland elementary school to ensure they had a strong understanding of the basics information needed to be successful in secondary school." "You would work and most likely for the University of Maryland"~ Delphine Gross Lakeland is related through blood, marriage, and church families~ Wilma Gross: Teachers would have their own children in their class, go to church with their students, and know their students extended families. Homecoming was a celebration held by the church and was seen as a family affair where the entire community would get together and reminisce. Students from Lakeland excelled in the classroom post desegregation and for this reason they were occasional the subject of bullying. Changes to the feeling of community after urban renewal. People grow up, getting married, and leave the community because there is limited housing. When outside families move into Lakeland, it is difficult to engage them in community activities.
Principal Edgar A. Smith is pictured here with the 1938 senior class of Lakeland High School. Smith was appointed principal of Lakeland High School when the school opened in 1928. He held the position until 1966, through its transition to a junior high and later to an elementary school. During much of this period, he also served as a classroom teacher. Even with these responsibilities, Smith completed his master’s degree at Temple University. Students are first row Milton Mack, unknown King, unknown Ross, Willie Randall 2nd row unknown, Oscar Owens, unknown, unknown, unknown, unknown, unknown, unknown, Principal Edger Smith back row James Marshall, unknown, Hamp Conway, unknown, Gasson Bradford
This is an interview conducted during Maryland Day, 2011, at Cole Fieldhouse. The interviewees answer questions on topics of sports in Lakeland, segregation outside of the community, bussing and integration of the school system, Lakeland's interaction with the University of Maryland, and raising children within the community.
Lakeland schools supplemented academic activities with variety shows that helped children develop performance skills and confidence in public speaking. In 1953, students at Lakeland Elementary School performed a Tom Thumb wedding, inspired by the song “The Wedding of the Painted Doll,” from the 1929 film The Broadway Melody. The school’s presentation included Lakeland boys and girls, as well as those who attended the school from other communities along U.S. Route 1.
An oral history interview conducted with Pamela Boardley by Eli Pousson as part of an IMPART funded oral history research project.
Edwina Herald Buckner stands with her fourth- and fifth-grade class in 1953, in front of the Lakeland Elementary and Junior High School. The third through sixth grade classes were housed in metal-clad temporary buildings behind the older brick building. Buckner taught both classes and offered free ballet lessons after school.
This is an audio recording of an open panel discussion about Lakeland and the surrounding area's history of African American education, which allowed all participants to contribute when compelled. Participants included former residents of Lakeland and students of the Lakeland School, as well as students from the University of Maryland American Studies program under Dr. Mary C. Sies. Professor Sies introduced the focus of the 2011 project on education before the beginning of the discussion. The following dialogue included how education played an integral role in the Lakeland community. The participants discussed their experiences of going to grade school during times of segregation and then integration/desegregation.
Given the opportunity to speak informally with Mary Day Hollomand at her home in the company of her two children, Lisa and Larry, the interviewers hoped to explore the changing perspectives of Lakelanders over two generations. During this same period Prince George's public schools transitioned from segregation to de-segregation. The discussion brought out differing attitudes towards several issues. Mary Day received her entire education in Lakeland “ from the age of six, when she left Sadie Plummer's private schoolhouse in Brentwood to start at Lakeland elementary, until she graduated from Lakeland High School in 1947. Mary Day had a deep and ongoing desire to involve herself in the life of the school and, in turn, the community. Her activities ranged from Glee Club to Safety Patrol to Homemakers of America. But she was most passionate about basketball, which she shared with her neighbor, her teammate and best friend, Patty Adams. Like many Lakelanders of her generation, Mary Day singled out Mrs. McClellan from among her high school teachers. She was really brilliant and she helped everybody. Mary Day noted that she did all this while her husband was serving overseas during World War II. She also singled out Bessie Mack, her first-grade teacher, and Mr. Arnold, who then had to serve in the army. Both lived in the neighborhood. Mary Day and her daughter acknowledged that the commitment of teachers to help students progress in their education changed after de-segregation. Lisa and Larry pointed to the lack of personal connections with their teachers, in part, because few of them lived in Lakeland or were familiar with the community. This is not to imply that Lisa and Larry, who attended integrated schools throughout, felt categorically that white teachers were less dedicated to African-American students. Lisa recalled her English teacher at Parkdale High School, a white woman, who was very intelligent and very strict she took an interest she was passionate about her craft, and she wanted to make sure that everyone got it. It was true, however, that integration did not really create more choices for Lakelanders. Larry wanted to go to Highpoint for high school, but because of the district where they lived, both he and Lisa had to attend Parkdale. Lisa was not involved with activities in high school, which her mother had a hard time understanding. I didn't go to any of the dances, I didn't do prom. I had friends who were cheerleaders and the pom-pom squad. Instead her focus, from the age of ten, was figure-skating. A few weeks after graduating from Parkdale, she joined Disney on Ice, moving from Lakeland, Maryland to Lakeland, Florida, to train with an international troupe. Mary Day supported her daughter and the family would travel to her performances. Most importantly, Lisa felt that this experience was invaluable and shaped me more than my formal education. Although Lisa did not follow in her motherâ€™s footsteps as far as taking part in the community, when it came time to leave Disney on Ice and enter college, she did feel strongly about the fact that her mother had been denied the opportunity to attend University of Maryland during segregation. Mary Day had attended Bowie State for just a week, then continued at Howard University in DC. Because of the curfew and the lack of much social life on campus, she spent a lot of time with her parents commuting back and forth from Lakeland. Lisa had also wanted to go to Howard. It was a tradition within the family, through her father's side, and it was a matter of pride for her. Instead, she started at Prince George's Community College, then transferred to UMD for her junior year. She recalled that the classes were much larger at the university and I was just a number. Her most memorable professor was Kazuo Yaginuma, who taught Japanese. She had toured for four months in Japan with Disney on Ice and this allowed her to reconnect with her past. Lisa spoke at length about her studies in Japanese, and nothing at all of her major, which was psychology. Long after finishing her degree, Lisa reconnected with the University of Maryland when she came to host foreign-exchange students from Japan on a summer program in College Park. They accommodated one student in their home, and Lisa's knowledge of the language helped to forge bonds. Lisa commented that Asians and African-Americans at the university did not interact very much. And Asians who had not grown up here would have seen African-Americans in the stereotypes portrayed on TV either [as] a movie star or a criminal. Mary Day recalled how they took one Japanese student to see a slave ship in Baltimore and the emotional impact it had on both mother and daughter to share this history with their guest. Mary Day also spoke about her experiences after college, as she had at Embry Church in February. At Howard, she studied health and physical education. She was the first woman in her family to attend college. She then went on to a career with the Census Bureau and then twenty years at the National Security Agency. She described how typically white employees would be given a test to advance in the agency. African-Americans were passed over, but one day Mary Day complained to her supervisor, who agreed to let her take the test on the spot and she passed with no time to prepare. Mary Day commented that people just did not speak up. Mary Day has lived for much of her adult life in the same house now forty-one years. At present her children live with her in this house. So we asked what they thought the future might hold for younger generations of Lakelanders trying to make a home for themselves. Could Lakeland return to the kind of close-knit community that once existed? Lisa and Mary Day had their doubts. Mary Day looked back to the time when she knew just about everyone in between Rhode Island Avenue and the railroad tracks. Today, by contrast, many of these older neighbors have died or families just sold or rented their houses when they moved elsewhere. It's not the same community that it used to be. For Mary Day, the community has continued to shrink physically, making it that much harder for younger families to stay. She blames urban renewal for that. First, the separation from east of the tracks, where many Lakelanders were forced from their homes. We tried to get (the city) to build single-family houses here, because there were a lot of people who wanted to stay and who had to move because of the floods. In the end, all the available area to build was taken up with the new elementary school. As Mary Day sees it, the city was just playing lip service, they never really intended to put up single-family houses, but rather high-rises which would change the density and character of the neighborhood.
Personal Background Attended Lakeland Elementary School, Greenbelt Junior High School, and Parkdale High School in Riverdale, Maryland. Mother worked as a housekeeper for the Maryland University Father was in the Government Bureau of Mines located at the Maryland University Campus â€¢ Parents also raised in Lakeland Lakeland Community Participation Attended Sunday school with Ms. Dessie Thomas Sunday school was an important part of education Parents were greatly involved in PTA and education of children Lakelanders were also involved with the Lakeland Civic Association There were summer activities for children such as the Girls Club, Boys Club in College Park, as well as the Girl Scouts Understood Lakeland as separate from College Park Desegregation in PG County Ms. Weaver was the first white teacher at Lakeland Elementary Lakeland students were bused to Greenbelt Junior High, where they were the only African American children there There were both African American and white teachers at Greenbelt. Was apprehensive about going to an integrated school: about making friends, fitting in, etc. There were some small incidents of racist name calling in middle school, but generally people were inclusive Some of the best athletes at Greenbelt were African Americans like Georgie Rounder, Jeff Briscoe, who went on to Parkdale High. Race became a more conscious issue in high school as more incidents of racism arose and students segregated themselves There were two violent walkouts (refusal to attend class) at Parkdale when the principal, Dr. ,made a racist remark about one of the students Through negotiations and conversations between parents, the community was able to work the whole thing out. There were also walkouts at the University of Maryland until they made the school more comfortable for African American students What Made Lakeland Different â young man whose last name was Webster was the first Lakelander to attend the University of Maryland. African American students whom the Lakelanders met at school were from different communities with different upbringings and culture. For example, the students from East Pines were disrespectful and lacked a strong religious upbringing. Neighbors were very active in parenting other people's as children in Lakeland All of the homes were single-family homes, not apartments or the town houses that are on Lakeland Road today Many of the younger Lakelanders have moved away and now there are many students who rent houses in the neighborhood There used to be two general stores here and one was called Mr. Black's Store and the Mack's Store where Lakelanders purchased food and congregated. The Black's Store also had a dance hall attended by local youth. Success in Lakeland Ms. Middleton did not attend university because her favorite teacher at Parkdale High, a white woman named Dr. Lake, arranged an interview for her with the FBI and she worked there for 37 years. Personal and collective Lakeland success attributed to the strength of the community and support of parents and religious leaders Lakeland teachers made do with materials, even though they were substandard, and educated students well as Gregory Lomax and other Lakeland families with some influence used their power or class status to send their children to all white schools, Integrated schools might have better materials, but they did not have the same community feel as Lakeland schools Memories of a Community in Decline Used to live on Lakeland Road before urban renewal, when she moved with her parents to Pierce Avenue After urban renewal, the neighborhood changed drastically as the community fabric weakened Ms. Briscoe-Middleton believes that the community will continue to dissipate until eventually the University of Maryland will acquire all of Lakeland. Playing sports in the community allowed Lakeland children to interact with non-African Americans and become more comfortable in an integrated environment Mayday was the biggest celebration in Lakeland The regular flooding of the community was a perennial source of anxiety for residents However, they also had fun with roller skating, movies, a big parade every summer etc. High school prom was an important event for Lakeland youth There were instances of integrated couples, especially young women who wanted to take African American athletes as dates; you just didn't take anybody home. Janet Winnatin â€¢ Patricia was very good friends with a white girl named Janet. She asked her mother if she could visit Janet's house and after some reluctance, her mother let her. When she arrived, Janet's mother would not let her enter the house. At first Patricia did not understand, but Janet explained that it was because she was African American. Janet was very upset because she worried that Patricia would not like her anymore and because she was disappointed in her mother. Patricia assured her that she understood and they continued to be friends Thoughts on the Future Patricia has a granddaughter who is 13 who doesn't understand what segregation and discrimination were like, especially because Black History is not taught well enough in public schools. Because of the disintegration of community in Lakeland, the area is becoming less safe and children do not have a good understanding of their heritage. Whereas before, the area was safe and nurturing, now there is danger of muggings and an emergency light box has been installed similar to those on the University of Maryland campus. The only anchors that may tie the community together are the Embry AME and First Baptist churches; as long as they stand and the history of Lakeland continues to be spoken, the memory of this community will survive.
The 1943 freshman class of Lakeland High. By this time, the county school buses were bringing students to Lakeland from the other African-American communities along the US Route 1 corridor, from Mount Rainier to Laurel. After 1946, students also were bussed from the Highland Park area of the county until Fairmount Heights Junior -Senior High School opened in 1950.