Film Examines How MLK Death Unified Three Churches
Reporting by Deirdre Byrne | February 22, 2021 | My Montgomery County Media
Though not widely known, the Pleasant View Church, along Route 28 on a three-acre plot of land, was once the center of the Black community of Quince Orchard.
After the Civil War, three Black men purchased the Pleasant View land for $54. Rev. Gerard Green and his son Jason Green are descendants of one of the men who invested in the land—Gary Green, a former slave. The three men built the Pleasant View Methodist Episcopal Church, the Pleasant View Cemetery, and a small schoolhouse called Quince Orchard Colored School to educate Black children in the time of segregation.
Jason Green and his sister Dr. Kisha Davis coproduced “Finding Fellowship,” which looks at the town of Quince Orchard in 1968, the year that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.
“This small rural community had three churches, one Black, two white, divided over the issue of slavery,” Green narrates in the trailer for the film.
Jason Green never set out to become a filmmaker. His inspiration to produce the “Finding Fellowship” came from a conversation with his now 102-year-old grandmother who is featured in the film.
She shared the story of her hometown, Quince Orchard, Maryland—now more commonly referred to as Gaithersburg or North Potomac—but how churches in that community all the way back in 1968 in the wake of Martin Luther King’s assassination decided to overcome their racial division and come together and forge a new future,” Jason Green says in an interview with MyMCM.
Rev. Green, who is also featured in the film, was 17 when the three churches merged and became Fairhaven United Methodist Church after the assassination of King.
“What I see in the film is a story of what’s possible. Dr. King’s life and his ministry wasn’t just about rights for Black people, it was about people being able to reconcile to come together and to forge a new and different future,” said Rev. Green.
Rev. Green is a chairman of the Pleasant View Historic Association, working to continue preserving the legacy of Quince Orchard. To this day, the Pleasant View historic site remains standing as one of Montgomery County’s last post-Civil War era Black settlements.
The full “Finding Fellowship” documentary is available now for streaming on BlackRock Center For the Arts’ website. On Tuesday, Feb. 23 and there will be a live screening of the film at 6:30 p.m., followed by a virtual Q&A with Jason Green. Get tickets to this event by clicking here.
Jason Green hopes the film can inspire others to learn their history.
“We need to be reminded of what’s possible, be reminded of what we’re capable of, and tell stories like this where we can see how people of different backgrounds, different races, different ideologies, were able to put their differences aside and come together to find fellowship.”