Date(s) - 04/07/2019
A central goal of community development is to improve the quality of life and well-being of community residents. Policing is often at the center of community development. This paper aims to disrupt the idea that policing is necessary for community development. In this paper, I present Black geographic visions and practices of community development, rooted in marronage—the practice of flight from slavery. I focus on seven Black communities in Montgomery County, Maryland which is located along the northern border of Washington, DC. I argue that these communities offer radical ideas for spaces that fulfill human needs, based in generational understandings of community safety and security beyond policing. Local communities built institutions and practices of support and care through escaping slavery that have continued today. Across generations, residents foster human connectivity and communal trust that often precludes their need to rely upon police. Operating outside of policing has enabled local Black residents to build their communities as spaces of liberation. Their communities point toward new developmental possibilities that can come to be when we stop calling the police.