December 6, 2020

Sugarland

Sugarland Community – Black-Owned Community Bought By Formerly Enslaved

Once upon a time in Black Entrepreneur History were formerly enslaved African Americans named William Taylor, Patrick Hebron Jr. and John H. Diggs are noted as founders of the community known as Sugarland.


There were many Black entrepreneurs living in the community because they all had to launch from ground up. However, there were three formerly enslaved Black entrepreneurs who bought land from a slave owner for $25 which is the equivalent of about $520 in today’s American dollar. The land was bought to build a church, school and more for a great black community..

These three entrepreneurs were William Taylor, Patrick Hebron Jr. and John H. Diggs. On October 6, 1871, nearly a decade after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation which freed Black men, women and children from the bondage of slavery, these three Black men purchased the land known as Sugarland.

Sugarland is located near Montgomery County, Maryland. Because the founders and the others in the black people in the community knew how to survive with no help because of their enslaved backgrounds, maintaining a community was second nature. They had all the skills and intelligence necessary – medically, architecturally and even to the ministry – except now, they were free.

Everything on the land was built and cared for by black people. There was a post office, church, school, cemetery with mortician and funeral home. Sugarland even had entertainment with a their own local band. Black architects, who didn’t have formal school training at all, built the church and more.

Sugarland was a town of Black Entrepreneurship not found in history books, but it existed and is a great moment in black history.


Sources:

Sugarland Ethno-History Project