Parks Petition Asks Officials to Acknowledge Racism in Public Displays (VIDEO)

Charlotte Coffield has lived in Silver Spring for more than 80 years and said she remembers it as a segregated place where blacks couldn’t even eat at the same restaurants as whites.

“We could not go to dress shops and try on clothes,” Coffield said. “We couldn’t try on hats. If you handled it, you had to buy it.”

Which is why she was shocked by a mural in Silver Spring’s Acorn Park.

“I noticed that they had black people there and white people standing in line to catch the train but in 1941 that would not have happened,” she said.

Which is why she signed a petition addressed to the Montgomery County Parks Department calling for a change in the signage.

Her signature is one of dozens from residents asking the Montgomery Parks department to tell Silver Spring’s history in ways that don’t ignore racism.

Local historian David Rotenstein agrees.

“If you walk through Silver Spring and read the heritage tour signs, they tell a very sanitized story that focuses on and celebrates the white supremacist that builds Silver Spring while not telling the story of blacks throughout Silver Spring’s History,” he said.

Earlier this year, the Parks Department solicited the community’s input since there are plans in the making to renovate Acorn park.

When MyMCMedia contacted the Montgomery Parks Department, Melissa Chotiner spokesperson for the department stated in an email, “we welcome public participation in future public meetings, and we are working to create a plan that reflects the interests and desires of all stakeholders.”

Ms. Coffield said she hopes signs and images are more accurate in the future.

“I think there should be clarification and inclusion of Africans and African American people who participated in the building of Silver Spring,” Coffield said.

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Mitti Hicks

About Mitti Hicks

Mitti Hicks is a multimedia journalist and community engagement specialist with Montgomery Community Media. She is passionate about telling stories that impact our community and may be reached at and on Twitter @mittimegan.


4 Responses to “Parks Petition Asks Officials to Acknowledge Racism in Public Displays (VIDEO)”

  1. Avatar
    On July 12, 2017 at 2:57 pm responded with... #

    Oh puuuuhhhllleeeaaase people!

    Know-nothing busy-bodies with nothing to do bu complain. eesh! get a life!

  2. Avatar
    On July 12, 2017 at 9:19 pm responded with... #

    I’m with Charlotte Coffield. Tell the truth, give the real history to people. It’s important we learn from it and be better human beings.

  3. Avatar
    On July 13, 2017 at 1:44 pm responded with... #

    I too am with Ms. Charlotte Coffield. The truth should be & needs to be told…this isn’t scripted t.v….this is the real world.

  4. Avatar
    On July 23, 2017 at 4:40 pm responded with... #

    ACORN PARK – including Building Murals and the Acorn-shaped shelter itself – are emblematic of the (deliberately) misstated ‘history’ of Silver Spring, Maryland – especially in the 20th Century when most of the suburbsn housing and shopping center development (plus major highways and paved roads) were constructed, including the bultding of the METRO. Red Line with a major Station in Silver Spring. Charlotte Coffield told it ‘like it was’. The true history of Silver Spring Jim Crow and ‘red-lining’ of house purchases and rentals, on top of denying shopping equal opportunity and jobs to Black American citizens and residents is still to be told. It is about time Montgomery County Government and its history-oriented entities – like M-NCPPC Planning Board and Planning Department – owned up to these realities, perform objective research, report findings openly and correct the record and monuments to redeem our society and allow us to celebrate better evolving equality of treatment for all in our community.

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