“I Have Started for Canaan” Book Release

A remarkable new book has been produced on the historic African American community of Sugarland in Poolesville.

Founded after emancipation in Maryland in 1864, Sugarland was an especially self-sufficient and tight-knit community and a place where neighbors worked together to imbue their children with a lasting appreciation of family and faith.

Drawing on a collection of written records, photographs, artifacts, and oral histories collected over 150 years, “I Have Started for Canaan” tells a fascinating story of the African American experience. In addition to tracing the story of Sugarland from emancipation to the present, it also includes resources for future researchers, including primary sources and detailed notes.

“More than just a local history, “I Have Started for Canaan” tells a wider story of a nascent ‘African America’ and illuminates the unseen struggles of those who rose to secure their newfound but tenuous freedom.” Anthony Cohen, historian, The Menare Foundation

The Sugarland Ethno-History Project, established in 1995 by descendants of Sugarland’s founders, published “I Have Started for Canaan.” In addition to documenting the community’s history and serving as a resource for historic and genealogy research, this non-profit organization maintains the Historic St. Paul Community Church on Sugarland Lane in Poolesville. Our special congratulations to Gwen Hebron Reese on shepherding this, and many other important projects, to completion for this community.

“I Have Started for Canaan” is available for purchase through Montgomery Countryside Alliance. To order online, visit MCA or send a check for $25 ($20/book, $5/shipping & handling) made out to Sugarland Ethno-History Project to: Montgomery Countryside Alliance, P.O. Box 24, Poolesville, MD 20837.