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Featured Profile: Mary Corbin Sies

Professor Mary Corbin Sies’s Fall 2009 graduate seminar, AMST 629D/ HISP 635: Social and Ethnic Issues in Preserva-tion, is partnering with members of the Lakeland Community Heritage Project (LCHP) to complete a semester-long history and interpretation of the East Side of the Lakeland community in College Park, Maryland. Lakeland is a historically African American enclave settled in the 1890s and adjacent to the College Park campus. The project, entitled “Lakeland East of the Railroad Tracks, 1890-1970,” challenges students and community members to research, document, and tell the story of a neighborhood that is not extant today. During urban renewal in the 1980s, the east side neighborhood was redeveloped and is now the site of the Lake Artemesia Park, administered by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.

Students will have the opportunity to model best practices in neighborhood preservation while recovering and interpreting the history of the original East Side settlement. Along the way, they are learning to use a wide array of primary sources: land records, manuscript censuses, maps and atlases, tax assessment records, archival collections, school board minutes, graphs, vertical files, historical newspapers and records from the City of College Park, photo-gazetteers, and city directories. Later in the semester, students will conduct oral interviews with Lakeland residents, some of whose families have lived in Lakeland for four to six generations.

Seminar members expect to produce 1) an illustrated research project which we will reproduce and distribute to LCHP members, 2) a public presentation to the Lakeland community, which will take the form of a polished PowerPoint presentation summarizing our findings, and 3) a digital walking tour of East Side Lakeland history and heritage. For questions about the project, please contact Professor Sies (marycorbinsies@yahoo.com).