Community Cornerstones


Watch Community Cornerstones on Maryland Public Television (Channel 22 for most cable providers) on Saturday, February 7 at 6pm!

Between the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement, 40 African American churches were constructed in Montgomery County.  In these cornerstones of their communities, generations of black families created their own spiritual, social and educational opportunities. 

Heritage Montgomery has produced a new 60-minute documentary featuring five of these church communities: Community Cornerstones: Historic African American Communities in Montgomery County, Maryland.

The video includes reminiscences by church elders whose words explain how these communities developed, illustrate life in segregated times, and convey their pride in the accomplishments of their ancestors.  Because music is such an integral part of the African American experience, the choirs associated with each featured church play a part in this project and their performances are highlighted throughout the video. 

The church communities participating in the project include Emory Grove United Methodist Church in Gaithersburg, Jerusalem-Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church in Rockville, Pleasant View Historical Site in Darnestown, Sharp Street United Methodist Church in Sandy Spring, and St. Paul Community Church in Poolesville.

The 60-minute documentary DVD plus an hour-long music CD featuring performances by the churches' gospel choirs and ensembles are available in a boxed set for $30. To order, click here for Gift Shop page or call HM at 301-515-0753.

Due to the time constraints of a 60-minute video, only portions of the extensive interviews with church community members could be included in the DVD.  We are happy to offer these interviews in their entirety:

Community Cornerstones Complete Interviews

Heritage Montgomery has also produced a 34-page Community Cornerstones brochure featuring the stories of 24 unique historic churches and their communities in Montgomery County. Use this brochure as a guide to draw your attention to sites you may pass every day, unaware of their meaningful histories.

Songs of Praise: The Choirs of Community Cornerstones Credit Information 


Research Resources for African American History

General Research

Montgomery County Cemetery Inventory:

Montgomery County Historical Society:

Maryland Historical Trust Library and Archives:

African American Resources at the Maryland State Archives:

The Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture

Resource Center at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum:

Historic Preservation

Research and Designation of Historic Properties:

Places from the Past: The Tradition of Gardez Bien in Montgomery County (inventory of historic properties in Montgomery County):

Maryland African American Heritage Preservation Program Grants:

African American Heritage Available Resources Available via Preservation Maryland:

African American Genealogy

African American Genealogy:

African American Genealogical Resource Page (Alabama State University):

Black Genealogy: