North Brentwood was the first African-American incorporated Town in Prince George's County (incorporation occurred in 1924). It is situated six miles northeast of the ellipse between Mt. Rainier and Hyattsville, Maryland.
North Brentwood was originally part of the "Castle Tract," later known as the "Highlands."
In 1887, Captain Wallace Bartlett formed Holladay Land and Improvement Division. He sold plots of land in the low area, subject to flooding, to African-Americans. He dedicated this land in memory of the black regiment which served under him in the Civil War. Land was designated for churches and a school.
In 1898, the trolley line of the Columbia and Maryland Railway Company was completed through Randall Town (named after first-settlers, The Randall Family).
In 1902, the first school opened in Randall Town with Henry and Peter Randall as trustees.
In 1904, The Holladay Land Company expanded and re-plotted 40 additional acres as a subdivision. The subdivision was named "Brentwood" after the Brent Estate in northeast Washington, DC.
In 1905, the First Baptist Church was organized under the leadership of Rev. James L. Jasper. The same year, Jeremiah Hawkins moved to the town, purchased several lots, built a house and became politically active.
In 1907, Mr. William Conway organized "The Brentwood Colored Citizens Association" to provide members an opportunity for educational, scientific, literary, musical, social and other beneficial endeavors.
In 1920, Jeremiah Hawkins was elected as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in Kansas City. North Brentwood was incorporated under the leadership of Mr. Hawkins in 1924 and he became the first mayor. His cabinet members were Peter Randall and Madison Brown, Councilmen; Squire Garland, Police Justice; William Norton, Town Clerk; and John Gilmore, Treasurer.
In 1946, the "Flashes" (for the first and last time under the qualified management of Donald Smith) became the first sandlot team to play in Griffith Stadium, Washington, DC.
In 1952, the municipal building was constructed through citizens’ volunteer labor under the leadership of Mayor William D. Bellows.
In 1975, the North Brentwood Community Center, operated by the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission, was opened.
In 1985, the North Brentwood flag was designed by Mrs. Victoria Welborne and Mr. Perry Wheaton.
In 1991, the Historical Society was organized by Lillian K. Beverly; the Society collected data to verify the historical significance of North Brentwood. The project committee, under the leadership of Mrs. Ruth Wilson, and attorney Orlando C. Hobbs, developed "Footsteps from North Brentwood," an oral, pictorial and artifact collection of life in North Brentwood from the 1900s to 1930.
After completion, the collection was displayed at the Anacostia Smithsonian Museum from July 1996 to January 1997. Part of the exhibit was moved the North Brentwood Community Center at that time, where it hung until May 1997 before moving to the State House in Annapolis. The collection was placed in storage at the Anacostia Smithsonian Museum in December 1997 after the Annapolis viewing.
In 2004, the North Brentwood Historical Society published “Minding Our Own Business.” The book is an oral history of North Brentwood’s entrepreneurs. As quoted by previous mayor Lillian K. Beverly, “A time to remember those businesses that provided service, shelter and food – including food for the soul.”
In 2005, the town offices moved to the old First Baptist Church building, 4009 Wallace Road. The building houses the new town offices and the Gwendolyn Britt Senior Activity Center (named after Senator Britt, 47th district, 2002-2008).
More recently, the Mayor, Council and citizens welcomed the opening of the Prince George’s African American Museum and Cultural Center at North Brentwood (on Rhode Island Avenue). The vision of this museum and educational programming is to enable all visitors to gain a sense of identity regarding local history, while broadening cultural understanding.
Thirteen Mayors have served the town since its incorporation. They are listed according to the term of office, namely: Jeremiah Hawkins, William T. Allen, George Lucas, Julius Wheeler, John Gilmore, Sandy P. Baker, William D. Bellows, LaBarre P. Thornton, Raymond A. Hall, William D. Bellows, Raymond A. Hall, Sandy P. Johnson, Arthur Dock, Lillian K. Beverly, and Petrella Robinson.
The Town of North Brentwood – which continues to grow and bring in a more diverse community – has always had a group of dedicated, civic-minded citizens who organize, persevere and strive for improvement.
Historical data excerpts are from "Footsteps from North Brentwood," a Maryland Humanities Funded Project, by the North Brentwood Historical Society.
For more information, call the Town Hall at 301.699.9699.