Experience Salubria

The African American Heritage Preservation Group of Prince George’s County, Md. celebrated the opening of the “Experience Salubria” exhibit on May 24 at the Potomac River Heritage Visitor’s Center.

The group, dedicated to preserving African American Heritage in Prince Georges County, held the celebration on May 24 at the center. Housed within the Tanger Outlets, it sits on land which was once occupied by the Salubria plantation.

Among the exhibit’s offerings is “Judah and Resistance,” which details the 1834 incident in which a 14-year-old slave girl named Judah “confessed” to poisoning the three children of Salubria’s owner. She was tried in Upper Marlboro, Md. court and sentenced to death by hanging.

Judah’s story and other acts of resistance to slavery are among the pieces of hidden history that the project’s supporters hope to highlight.

“This is the first time the African American story is told alongside the plantation story,” David Turner, the former chairman of the Historic Preservation Commission in Prince George’s County, told The Washington Post. “We’re not just saying come look at the lovely mansions. We want tourists to see history from the eyes of the slave.”

Four notable local residents were also honored for their work with Black history, youth development and preservation. Those honored included: Retha Henry, who was responsible for helping to preserve North Brentwood, built by former slaves; Lillian K. Beverly, mayor of North Brentwood from 1995 to 2007, who launched the program that established the African American museum and cultural center of North Brentwood; and the founders of the African American Heritage Preservation Group of Prince George’s County, Mildred Ridgeley Gray and Samuel Parker Jr.

“I wanted to say on behalf of all African Americans and particularly on behalf of the youth, please come out to the museum, because it was constructed to let the youth know how important their ancestors were and what part they played in the development of Prince Georges County, Beverly said.

The African American Heritage Preservation Group was formed in 2006 by Prince George’s County residents to aid in the location, preservation and maintenance of historic sites related to African American history. The organization’s creation came amid realization that much of Black contribution to history and culture around the area had been lost, ignored and forgotten.
In addition to Salubria and North Brentwood, the group has also worked on restoring monuments such as the Northhampton Slave Quarters, a prominent local plantation; the Ridgeley School, a segregated school dating to 1927; and Bowie State University, one of the oldest historically Black universities in Maryland, which was founded in 1865.