Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Gorgeous Prince George's

I moved to the suburbs of DC with my parents right before starting kindergarten. We lived in a nice house in a diverse neighborhood located in what was once referred to as "PG County", please call it Prince George's County.

Growing up, most of my friends had two working parents and were raised to respect our elders and taught morals and values. At that time we went to our local schools because they were safe, our teachers lived in our community and you could get a good public school education. Boy, have things changed.

As I got older I noticed there seemed to be a shift. Gradually, a certain demographic, mainly older Caucasian who moved there to retire, began to move away and others started to move in.

When it was time to go to high school, I decided to go to a public school that was known for it's Science & Technology program versus going to a private school like my parents wanted. I would definitely say at first it was somewhat of a culture shock even my school was only 5 minutes away. Here I was used to living in my own little world, where everyone lived in a house and had 2 middle, upper-middle class parents. I wouldn't say that I was sheltered, I was very involved in church and various activities, but was always surrounded by people who were for the most part like me. High school definitely prepared me for the real world and for being able to relate to all people regardless of their background and socioeconomic status.

Growing up and until recently, Prince George's county was always touted as the Most Affluent County for African-Americans in the US. I've heard that Fayette County in GA, has since taken over the title but I have yet to find the research to prove it. I moved back to the county two years ago after living in FL for college, ATL for grad school, NYC for work, then back to ATL, by simply watching the news you can tell the perception of the county had changed.

The first thing I noticed was the new slogan "Prince George's County: A County of Livable Communities." What? Seriously what does that mean? A shelter is livable. A jail is livable. I don't know who came up with that but they should be ashamed of themselves, it's so degrading. Every time I see the sign posted up on the median driving home I just shake my head in disgust. Such a slap in the face.

For those in the DMV, if you haven't noticed there is an effort to completely do away with saying "PG County" instead please use the full name, Prince George's County. When I first moved back, I got corrected many times and quickly got used to saying the entire name. Trust me it's really easy plus it sounds better. Notice you never hear people from other counties say they're from CC (Charles County), QA (Queen Anne's), AA (Anne Arundel), etc. People used to say MoCo (Montgomery County) but you rarely hear that these days.

As someone in marketing, I understand the county is trying to rebrand itself in hopes of regaining the elite reputation it was once known for. I have to say I'm glad the National Harbor was finally built. I remember the protests and signs posted in people's yard back in the late 90s. It has brought hundreds, if not thousands, of new jobs, high-dollar real estate to the county and is a destination spot for people from all over the world. Now if only we could get a "real" mall, sorry but Bowie Town Center doesn't cut it. I'm talking like a Tyson's Corner.

I love my county and I'm proud to be back in Gorgeous Prince George's but I'm still trying to figure out what caused the shift? Was I just blind to it living in my small community (if you wondering I grew up in Tantallon, if you couldn't tell, lol) or have things really changed so drastically in the last 10-15 years? Thoughts? Comments?


  1. It happened when DC became gentrified and all the lower income residents were forced to move into PG county for cheaper housing.

  2. I live in south metro Atlanta and I don't think Fayette county has replaced Prince George county because Fayette is not predominately black. The African American population is growing in Fayette county but blacks are still the minority.