A difficult recovery of wealth for once thriving black families in Prince George’s County

The Washington Post presents a multi-part series (part 1 and part 2) on the rise and fall of Prince George’s County’s black middle class. The community’s residents, once a majority of affluent black families, experienced a great deal of loss as a result of the housing crisis fueled by subprime loans – losses that have proven to be extraordinarily difficult to recover from. (WaPo, 1/24 and 1/25)

African Americans for decades flocked to Prince George’s County to be part of a phenomenon that has been rare in American history: a community that grew more upscale as it became more black.


But today, the nation’s highest-income majority-black county stands out for a different reason — its residents have lost far more wealth than families in neighboring, majority-white suburbs. And while every one of these surrounding counties is enjoying a strong rebound in housing prices and their economies, Prince George’s is lagging far behind, and local economists say a full recovery appears unlikely anytime soon.

REGION | Lately, our region has been challenged with urgent calls to action from leaders concerned about the area economy. In this letter to the editor printed in The Washington Business Journal, WRAG president, Tamara Copeland, writes about why she applauds this call, and pledged philanthropy’s support of their effort. (WRAG, 1/26)

WRAG | Community service is often handed out by judges in a court of law as punishment, but shouldn’t it be viewed as a high calling? WRAG board member Wilton Corkern, trustee of the Corina Higginson Trust, recently wrote a letter to the editor printed in The Washington Post, where he shares his thoughts on the heels of former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell’s sentencing. (WaPo, 1/8)

– Today, the Washington Regional Food Funders (WRFF) publish their policy brief, An Equitable Regional Food System For Greater Washington: The Imperative and Opportunity for Change. In this high-level overview of the range of work underway to transform our region’s food system, WRFF urges our region’s political leaders to become more deeply engaged in ensuring that everyone in our region has equitable access to good food.

– On Wednesday, January 28th, WRAG members Celeste A. James (Kaiser Permanente) and Yanique Redwood (Consumer Health Foundation) will be leading panels at the New Partners for Smart Growth preconference workshop entitled, Healthy Food Systems: Opportunities to Grow Resilient, Equitable Communities 2.0. Information on registration for this workshop at the Baltimore Hilton Hotel can be found here.

– Amid news of the upcoming Dupont underground arts space, The Kojo Nnamdi Show explores what it takes to create more development for the arts in the region. (WAMU, 1/22)

– Though there are hubs for art in a number of areas across the District, one area lacking space for artists is Ward 7. There, some artists are looking to change that. (East City Art, 1/22)

DISTRICT | 3 Ways DC Could Be a Very Different Place by 2030 (DCInno, 1/23)

– Facing a steadily rising population boom, Arlington officials grapple with how to accommodate an unprecedented rise in the student population – and quickly. (WaPo, 1/23)

Full day kindergarten, specialty busing, all on chopping block at Prince William schools (Potomac Local, 1/23)

POVERTY | Study: Poor Boys Are More Likely to Fight, Lie, and Steal if They Live in Mixed-Income Housing (New Republic, 1/22)

Forget player stats and averages…let’s breakdown Super Bowl Sunday by the numbers that really matter – like how many chicken wings will people eat?

– Ciara