Lincoln was founded in the early 1900s by a group of black Washington businessmen and associates of educator Booker T. Washington as a suburban development for black professionals.

Thomas J. Calloway, a lawyer and educator, formed a real estate company, the Lincoln Land and Improvement Corp., which purchased the land through financing from other black professionals. A black architect designed the homes and almost immediately the community became known in black professional circles as a prime residential location.

Dr. Daniel Peter Seaton, for whom Seaton Memorial African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church is named, was another prominent resident of Lincoln and the third minister to serve the congregation there.  A writer, explorer and spiritual leader of the A.M. E. church, Seaton was an organizer of A.M.E. churches in the Washington Metropolitan area prior to and during his years in Lincoln.

Life in Lincoln in the early years -- according to longtime residents -- revolved around the family, Seaton A.M.E. church, Lincoln Elementary School (which closed after the Prince George's schools were desegregated) and Homestead Park, where residents gathered to watch the Vista Yankees play ball in the old Negro baseball league. Many of them commuted to their offices in the district by train, and the woman took the train in the District to shop. In the waning days of de jure segregation in the 1950s, residents often took community outings to Sparrow Beach, a black resort in Annapolis.

For a group of professional black men to have had a vision of developing a community, given the restrictions of the early 1900s, was fantastic, "said Bianca Floyd, a black history researcher for the Maryland-National-Capital Park and Planning Commission. "The fact that they succeeded was something."

It was a very peaceful community," Floyd said, "They have their own social life, picnics and church outings." Lincoln is still a quiet neighborhood with strong community ties, residents said.

For many years, it retained its rural viewpoint," said Edna Burke Jackson, a retired schoolteacher who moved to Lincoln with her family in 1916 to get away from the congestion of the District. "It's just in the last few years that we have become somewhat Urbanized. It's a close-knit community, has been over the years."


"If the future Lincoln can be prophesied from its brief pars, It is destined to meet a situation forced upon the colored people. If we have learned voluntarily to unite in communities of our own choosing then, and not until them, will we, as a race, learn to feed, clothe and house ourselves" Thomas Junius Calloway, Crisis Magazine, 1915.

Prior to the establishment of the new school, each community had a separate civic association. In January 1916, the residents of Lincoln formed the "Citizen's Association of Lincoln, Maryland." Dr. Daniel Seaton served as its first president and Isaiah T Hatton served as the first vice president. Other officers were: Carrie Johnson, secretary; W.A. Davis, treasurer; C.H. Fulton, Lettie Nolen Calloway, Mrs. D.P. Seaton and Frank Holland, members of the Executive Committee.

The activities of this early citizens association included gardening and agricultural produce contests, marketing activities for poultry and agricultural assistance for small farm concerns. The Citizen's Association perform-med many of the functions of a city council. Lincoln had its own water system with water supplied from a new-by spring. Their water system included a one-half mile water main, a 25,000 gallon reservoir of spring water and a 10,000 gallon water tower and pumping outfit. There were gas plants which provided for lights and heat for cooking, a brick factory, and the community park called Chautauqua Park and Lake. Evolving out of the Citizen's Association, the women of Lincoln formed the Alpha Progressive Club which was part of the Black Women's Club movement of the early 1900s.

Along with the Fairmount Heights, Croome, Deanewood, Lakeland and other Black suburban communities, Lincoln submitted community news stories to the Washington Bee on a regular basis. These news stories usually contained accounts of social, political and religious activities of these communities.

Like other early Black middle class communities, Lincoln was a way of living and thinking. The forced segregation of I-he Jim Crow era did not allow Black Americans the various residential, business and social opportunities open to their White counterparts. With their own determination and skills, Black communities nonetheless grew and flourished in the early 1900s. Lincoln, then, was a prototype of what many Black communities had to do in order to survive.

(Selections from an article written by Bianca Floyd-MNCPPC)