Plans to Prosper You: Reflections of Black Resistance and Resilience in Montgomery County’s Potomac River Valley

June 15-August 11, 2019
Presented by the AU Museum Project Space

A crowd outside a house

River Road School circa 1930s. DC Public Library, Star Collection © Washington Post.


Gail Rebhan's Fort Reno Park

Gail Rebhan, Fort Reno Park 2009. Courtesy of the artist.


A man swings an axe at a structure

Melvin Crawford axes wooden structure during Scotland renovations. Sept 18, 1968. Photo by Alan Siegel; courtesy of Montgomery History


Two women and a sign saying 'Zoning Reclassfication Application NO. E106 Pending'

Geneva Mason (L) and Joyce Siegel (R). Photo by Alan Siegel; Courtesy of Montgomery History.

Exhibition Overview

The exhibition title takes its name from Bible verse Jeremiah 29:11 to echo the central role of the Black church in bringing communities together, inspiring hope, and acting as a vector for social change. The goal of this exhibition is to offer a space of learning and meditation that highlights the Black history of Montgomery County and western Washington, DC, and pay homage to the communities who championed fights against racial discrimination through faith, family, and fellowship. While this exhibition highlights the communities of Scotland, Tobytown, and Macedonia-Moses, we hope future iterations of Plans to Prosper You will continue to prompt in-depth collaboration within and beyond these communities.

Students from AU’s graduate programs in anthropology, arts management, art history, and studio art participated in developing the exhibition. It is informed by first-year anthropology graduate students’ collaborative scholarship with the communities (supervised by Adrienne Pine, associate professor of anthropology) as part of the “Craft of Anthropology” course. Students have conducted participant-observation fieldwork and recorded oral histories with community members, and have collected archival donations from community members and local churches and cataloged the items for the Historic African River Road Connections collection housed in AU’s library.

Additional Resources

Access the exhibition catalog online.

This exhibition includes four photo-collages by Gail Rebhan, which blend archival and contemporary photographs, along with historical newspapers, maps, advertisements, ephemera, and text into one final image representaitve of DC communities. Access her source bibliography for these photo-collages.


Culture Spot MC: New Katzen Arts Center Exhibit Focuses on Montgomery County’s Historic African American Communities

Daily Kos: "Plans to Prosper You": a university museum gets it right re African American communities

WAMU: Out From The Shadows: Montgomery County’s Historic Black Communities Are The Focus Of New Exhibit

The Washington Post: Lifting up a community that’s at risk of being forgotten