Black History Month 2018

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On February 27, 2018, the Council recognized Black History Month with a focus on “Preserving the Past and Educating for the Future.” The event included a panel discussion on the importance of preserving African American culture in Montgomery County featuring Gwen Reese, Representative, St. Paul’s Community Church, Sugarland; Christine Clarke, former County liaison to the African American community and resident of the Village of Jerusalem in Poolesville; and George W. McDaniel, Ph.D., President McDaniel Consulting, LLC & Executive Director Emeritus, Drayton Hall. A video segment focusing on African American leaders in our community was shown at the event. These community leaders include: Vikram Akwei, Founder, High School Success Program; Kevin Beverly, President & CEO, Social Scientific Systems Inc. & Board Chair for CollegeTracks; Anita Neal Powell, President & CEO, Lincoln Park Historical Foundation; and Michael Williams, Co-founder, Minority Scholars Program. Watch the video segment: The Bottom Line - Black History Month 2018

Complete footage of Council Black History Month Commemoration, “Preserving the Past and Educating for the Future.” February 27, 2018

Montgomery County Black History Month Videos

Preserving the Past and Educating for the Future, A Black History Monty Commemoration PowerPoint Presentation from George McDaniel, McDaniel Consulting LLC, February 27, 2018

Land Conservation and Historic Preservation

Gwen Reese

Ms. Reese is the founder and President of the Sugarland Ethno History Project, Inc. (SEHP), a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization purposed in preserving the history of the Sugarland Forest Community in Montgomery County, Maryland. A descendant of the Sugarland community, Ms. Reese has dedicated over 20 years collecting artifacts, photographs, community history documentations, oral interviews, and community genealogy from descendants of the Sugarland community. In addition to her work with SEHP, Ms. Reese is a trustee of the Historic St. Paul Community Church and Cemetery. The church, built by former slaves in 1893, served as the focal point for the community for over 100 years. No longer operating as a church, Historic St. Paul serves as the museum for much of the Sugarland collection Ms. Reese serves as the curator and spearheaded the ongoing documentation of the cemetery. Ms. Reese is a historian who actively promotes the rich heritage of Sugarland and the African Americans who lived there.

Dr. George W. McDaniel

George W. McDaniel has devoted his professional life to historic preservation and education. Currently he is president of McDaniel Consulting, LLC, after having retired after 25 years as executive director of Drayton Hall in Charleston, SC. A native of Atlanta, he earned a B.A. in history from Sewanee, a Masters of Arts in Teaching (History) from Brown University, and a Ph.D. in American History from Duke University. Montgomery County served as his training ground, for he worked here in 1978-79 for the Maryland Historical Trust and Sugarloaf Regional Trails, documenting historical African American communities, photographing houses and buildings, and recording oral histories, all of which resulted in Black Historical Resources of Upper Western Montgomery County. Another product of his work was the selection of a historical house built in 1874 by an African American landowning family near Poolesville which was recently selected and placed on exhibit by the National Museum of African American History and Culture as the “Freedom House.” His writing also provided much of the narrative for African American Heritage Cookbook, Montgomery County, Maryland, published in 2017 by Heritage Montgomery. Though now living in South Carolina, George has decided to continue his research, writing, and public speaking in Montgomery County and looks forward to working with historical organizations and schools in the county to promote and preserve African American history and to interweave it into the county's heritage. To learn more, one may visit his web site,

Christine (Tina) Clarke

Picture of Cindy Rosales

Christine Clarke is a sixth generation Marylander and Montgomery County native. Her family, the Clarkes of Poolesville, is regarded as one of the first black families who fought for civil rights in Montgomery County a century ago.

She has lived through integration, and has spent her whole life as a community activist fighting for equality. She has received numerous awards and accolades for her work including the Living Legend Award in 2017, and she was inducted into the County’s Human Rights Hall of Fame in 2006.

Ms. Clarke, along with other members of the African American community, is working on a national project to create designs for historic site designation and recognition.

For more than thirty years, Ms. Clarke was a County Government employee. She spent a total of 16 years serving as the County’s African American Liaison Officer.

She currently teaches special needs students at South Lake Elementary School in Gaithersburg.

Anita Neal Powell

Anita Neal Powell is the President/CEO of the Lincoln Park Historical Foundation. Ms. Powell oversees the Leroy E. Neal African American Research Center in Montgomery County, Maryland. The Center promotes opportunities for individuals and groups to become more aware of, and develop an appreciation for the rich African American local, county, and state history through research, interpretation, training, lifelong education, and database usage. She is also one of the first African American women in Montgomery County recognized as a member of Maryland’s Top 100 Women, 2007.

Ms. Powell’s signature programs include Educational Mobile Workshops; Tracking the Footprints of African Americans and Carver Junior College; Maryland African American Heritage Preservation Conference; Black Town Hall meetings; The Annual Christmas/Kwanzaa Celebration for seniors and youth; and the Gospel Train Ride to Freedom. She serves as a Greeter at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, Rockville; Commissioner, Rockville Historic District Commission and Harriet Tubman Statue Commission; and former Commissioner, Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture.

She is currently the second Vice President, Maryland State Conference, and a subscribing life member of the NAACP. Ms. Powell has received numerous awards and citations for her contributions, and has been recognized for her leadership and volunteer community service. Ms. Powell is featured in print, and news media as a community activist, advocate, researcher, historian, public speaker, and organizer on community, county, and state diversity issues, concerns, and contributions.