African American News and Genealogy

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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Long Memories in Land of the Freed

Begun by Ex-Slaves, a Prince George's Community Values Its Past By Tony Glaros -- Special to The Washington Post, Saturday, July 15, 2006; Page G01

Squeezed by the thickening sweep of suburbia, Muirkirk remains a slower spot. Residents of the northeastern Prince George's County community still find time to spin stories, keep the nearby graveyard tidy and set the table at church suppers. Old Muirkirk Road remains the neighborhood's focal point, a slice of relative calm between Beltsville and Laurel. The 15 houses on the shady, winding street vary in age and style, from 100 years old to a contemporary rancher.

Growing up, Marsha Brown referred to the neighborhood as Rossville, a name that dates back to when it was settled by freed slaves. She still does. But Rossville, she explained, was always considered a subdivision of Muirkirk. "It was never something that was official. I guess you could say Old Muirkirk Road has become the central area of the community. The church is there. The schools used to be there." The American Legion hall is around the corner on Muirkirk Road, she pointed out. At one time, she said, Muirkirk even had its own post office down by the railroad tracks. The signs of the older community are still there in the form of the historic graveyard and the church across the street, Queen's Chapel United Methodist. The congregation traces its roots to 1870, when the first structure went up where the cemetery is today, said Brown, who wrote a book about the history of the church. Full Story:


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