By Sydnee Singletary

Artwork, storytelling, and interactive activities filled the Montpelier Arts Center for the 2023 Black History Month exhibition. This year’s theme is Black resistance, highlighting the various forms of anti-Blackness, protests, and change within the Black community.

Black Resistance! Stories from Prince George’s County officially opened Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023. The exhibition begins with tales of Black resistance in Prince George’s County, hoping to reveal lessons that can be applied to the present.  

segregated classroom
Image of Black students eating breakfast in a racially segregated classroom
Photo Credit: Sydnee Singletary

Dr. Dennis A. Doster, director of the Black History Program for the Prince George’s County Department of Parks and Recreation, explained, “The goal was to not necessarily tell the entire history of Black resistance but to select different narratives from different time periods.” The exhibition, he continued, doesn’t focus on the theory of enslavement, but instead tells “stories about black families managing to stay together and be a family despite being enslaved.”

Throughout this exhibition, stories about the Underground Railroad, the Maryland Slave Revolt in 1845, the Slave Rebellion of the Civil War, the Bowie State Protest, and more are posted on every wall, giving an overview of important figures, memorable events, and institutions established by the African American community in Prince George’s County. 

In a different corner, there is a 4-wall memorial fence filled with artwork empowering Black people while also reflecting on major issues within the community. This part of the exhibition also has protest signs from historical protest marches and the Black Lives Matter Movement. 

display pieces 1
Display pieces at the Montpelier Art Center’s Black Resistance exhibit
Photo Credit: Sydnee Singletary
display pieces 2
Display pieces at the Montpelier Art Center’s Black Resistance exhibit
Photo Credit: Sydnee Singletary

Here, visitors can sit down and create their own signs and words of encouragement using markers and crayons. Selected signs will also be attached to the memorial fence wall.

“We think about the issues plaguing our community today. We can look back at tactics and things that have been done over the past, and use that to inform the tactics and strategies that we develop in the present,” says Dr. Dennis A. Doster.

The organizers of this year’s exhibition specifically created activities to involve members of the Montpelier community. One activity poses the question “What is the most pressing issue facing the black community today?” Guests of the exhibition can write their responses on sticky notes and post them on the wall.

visitor interactions
A visitor interacts with one of the many activities presented for
guests of the Black Resistance exhibit at the Montpelier Arts Center.
Photo Credit: Sydnee Singletary

This exhibition is open until Sunday, March 26. The Montpelier Arts Center gallery hours are Sunday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.