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Jason Green

Jason Green Appears on ABC 7 – WJLA’s News Talk

Jason Green, former Associate Counsel to President Obama, left the White House in 2013 to begin work on The Quince Orchard Project, a documentary about a small community in Montgomery County, MD. Along with his sister, Dr. Kisha Davis, Jason is directing and co-producing the film which presents the unlikely merger of three racially segregated churches in 1968 in the Quince Orchard community of Gaithersburg as an example of how communities can unite during divided times.

 

 

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June Fest—Celebrating the Past and Finding Purpose for the Future

as published by The North Potomac Times, written by Susan Petro, August 2016

On Saturday, June 26, the Pleasant View Historic Site, located at 11810 Darnestown Road in Gaithersburg, opened its doors to the public for its annual June Fest: a day filled with fun, music, home-cooked meals, and presentations by trustees and associates of the Pleasant View Historical Association. The event is intended to honor and celebrate the African-American ancestry and heritage of the Quince Orchard area dating back to before the 1860s when the original school and church were built on the site.

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This festival is the only time during the year when the property is open to the public. The June Fest also serves as a large family reunion for many of the descendants of the original Pleasant View Church. Hundreds of visitors enjoyed the festivities along with many community members and others interested in taking part or learning more about the history of the site. The event has taken place in May or June of every year since 1984.

A large tent was set up on the grounds with chairs for the attendees. Trustees of the Pleasant View Historic Site gave a presentation that included an introduction by Rev. Dr. Gerard Green, Jr., a descendant of some of the original church members and chairman of the Pleasant View Historical Association. Other trustees and members of the Pleasant View Church were introduced, including Ida Pearl Green, who, at age ninety-eight, is the oldest living member of the church. Historian Vernon Green gave a presentation detailing the history of the Pleasant View Site.

Musical performances from the Quince Orchard Drum Line, The Chosen Vessels, Mr. Teddy Lyles, The Royal Harmonizers, Rev. Melvin Martin, and the Men’s Choir of Asbury UMC, Germantown entertained the crowd while many of the adults sat under the tent and children ran and played in the field.

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According to the Pleasant View Historical Association historian, Vernon Green, the property was purchased in 1868 for $54 for the establishment of a Methodist Episcopal Church to serve the African-American community that resided in the area. The congregants originally worshiped in a school on the property until they could afford to build a church. The church was built in 1888. In 1901, the Quince Orchard Colored School burned down under suspicious circumstances. In 1902, the Montgomery County Board of Education voted to move the old school for white children that was located across the street to the Pleasant View site to be used for the black students. A new school was built for the white population.

Inside the former school, the ladies of Pleasant View cooked up a delicious meal that included many favorites of the past and present like fried chicken, fish, chitterlings, pigs’ feet, and hot dogs. Another table featured homemade desserts, cold sodas, and water for sale. The food was so popular it sold out before the end of the day.

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The school building is set up to look much today as it did approximately a hundred years ago. A large stove sits in the middle of the classroom that is filled with desks and chalkboards. Newspaper clippings, pictures, and articles line the walls showing what life was like a century ago.

The former church was also open to the public and featured movies depicting the history of the church and the congregation. According to the historical presentation by Vernon Green, members of Pleasant View and two other local churches transferred their memberships to the new Fairhaven United Methodist Church in 1968 due to dwindling memberships and low population growth; however, Pleasant View retained its legal distinction with trustees who continue to maintain the site.

Today, the church building and property are leased to Mt. of Olives Church. An active cemetery still remains on the site and holds the remains of many of the original members of the Pleasant View Church, as well as subsequent generations.

Jason Green, the grandson of Ida Pearl Green and son of Rev. Dr. Gerard Green, Jr., two of the trustees of the site and former parishioners of Pleasant View Church, has taken a special interest in documenting the history, telling the story of Pleasant View and the Quince Orchard Community itself. He and his sister, Dr. Kisha Davis, are currently collaborating on a documentary called The Quince Orchard Project. According to Jason, the project was conceived after conversations he and Davis had with their grandmother, Ida Pearl. They were surprised to learn that Quince Orchard used to be its own distinct community, separate from Gaithersburg and other local towns. To learn more about The Quince Orchard Project, visit thequinceorchardproject.com or stay tuned for future issues of The North Potomac Times for upcoming stories about the project and the Pleasant View Historical Site.

Monies raised from the food sales and other fundraising activities at the June Fest go toward the maintenance and preservation of the Pleasant View Historic Site, in addition to ensuring that the property will remain relevant and available for future generations to enjoy.

 

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Film project puts spotlight on rich history of Md. community

as published by WTOP, written by Kate Ryan, June 25, 2016

Every day, hundreds of people drive past it, unaware of its history. For many, the old church along Route 28 in Gaithersburg is just “the church with the missing steeple.”

That distinctive white church “without the steeple” is the Pleasant View Methodist Episcopal Church, part of a historic parcel that dates back to the founding of the Quince Orchard community back in 1868 when a group of African American residents planned and built a school for their children.

Jason Green, a descendant of those first families, once wondered why they risked building a school. He thought it might have been easier, and safer, for them to hire a tutor. After all, the Civil War had just recently ended.

“That’s when my grandmother stopped me … stopped me in my tracks. And she said the black children of the community needed a school,” Green said.

She told him his great-great-grandfather and his neighbors saw that need and had the school built. He recalls his grandmother, Pearl Green, told him, “They were doers — and doers do.”

Green is carrying on that tradition. He and his sister, Dr. Kisha Davis, are producing a documentary as part of “The Quince Orchard Project,” an effort to capture the history of Montgomery County’s African American community in the Gaithersburg area. The documentary will focus on a period 100 years after the founding of Quince Orchard.

“The documentary is actually focused on how the people of the Quince Orchard community made a difficult decision in one of America’s most turbulent times,” Green said.

He explains that in 1968, in what Green calls the shadow of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., three previously segregated churches — two white, one African-American — decided to merge.

“Our documentary focuses on who those people were and how they were able to make that difficult decision … and we draw lessons that we then try to apply to what’s been a racially challenged over the last few years,” Green said.

The Quince Orchard Project isn’t just the making of a documentary. Green is also involved in working alongside the Pleasant View Historic Association to preserve the 3-acre parcel.

Preserve Maryland recently added it to their “Six-to-Fix,” a designation intended to help six threatened sites navigate the preservation process.

“It signifies that this is a property that is not just important to the African American community but is important to the history and lineage of our state,” Green said, explaining why it’s important.

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Documenting history on site

by Quince Orchard Contributor Colin Hardy

During the Spring 2016 semester, I participated with the project between the University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s Public History department and the Quince Orchard Project and the Pleasant View Trustee Board to determine where bodies were buried on the historic site. Not all burials were recorded and there were numerous stories of individuals spontaneously burying their loved ones because there were few African American cemeteries at the time.

We were tasked with developing a library of those sites that are known, while a future team would delve into discovering unknown sites using Ground Penetrating Radar technology. We developed an inventory system that outlined the conditions of existing tombstones and other information gathered from each site.

From there, we created a project to inform the school population about the historic Pleasant View site. As a class, we chose to explore how the site’s three sections mirrored the life cycle of African Americans from this by-gone area. The class was divided into three groups: the school (which symbolized early life), the church (which symbolized mid life), and the cemetery (which symbolized the end of life). Each group was tasked with presenting information about their specific area and how that area can connect to the modern community. We now have this information to catalog within the film and document in the Site’s archives.

Guiding the Impact of Quince Orchard

by Quince Orchard Contributor Jasmyn Shumate

The Quince Orchard team is embracing expectations for the social impact of our upcoming documentary: a film that can “lead to a greater awareness of the issue and an increased willingness to become involved in the issue and in the community.”

We want our project to share the deep human stories surrounding the cultural legacy and heritage of the Quince Orchard community. We are developing an Impact Guide to outline our multi-dimensional tools, techniques and curriculum that will engage our audiences as cultural stakeholders to create meaningful discussions about the storyline of our film.

We’ll use feedback from the Impact Guide to further analyze how the story environment of our film drives social change and impact surrounding the Quince Orchard community and similar communities across the country.

 

ABOUT JASMYN:

Jasmyn is a rising senior at American University whose interests in multimedia communications and social impact led her to join the Quince Orchard Project. “Immediately, I was drawn to Jason’s passion to spread social impact through digital storytelling in order to create a space that illuminates the perspectives, beliefs and values of the Quince Orchard community. What a privilege it is to be a part of this experience.” Jasmyn is a member of our outreach team dedicated to strategizing a strategic communications plan to levitate and maximum the promotional reach of our film.

Remembering Lost Black Communities

We find this across the country. Historic preservation, generally, has focused on the European American legacy, and people are surprised to learn that African Americans have been present for hundreds of years in the same place. And that they actually have a mark, physically, on the space by constructing buildings. And more than buildings, creating a life and creating communities and community institutions that the historical societies are just unaware of.

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