The Grove name is thought to come from the stands of large oak trees that grew across the street from what is now St. Mark's United Methodist Church. By the 1870s the Grove was the site of community festivals and events.
Records are unclear when Blacks began to settle in the section of Laurel known as "The Grove." However, census records and local directories indicate that after the Civil War African Americans living in Laurel were concentrated in the Grove area.
St. Marks, founded in 1890, along with the schools, became the center of Grove community life.
Laurel schools were segregated until the 1960s. The Laurel Colored School (School No. 2), opened in 1884. The school, which served Laurel's African American students until 1962, was moved to a building on what is now Emancipation Park and renamed the Laurel Grove School
For More than 100 years the Grove has been home to the community's Emancipation Day celebration, which commemorates the freeing of the slaves in the 1860s.
Senior Grove residents recalled that crowds from Washington and Baltimore, as well as elsewhere in the county, once came to Laurel for the parades, picnics, baseball and celebrations associated with the event.
September 7, 1991 the site of the former Laurel Grove School and oak grove was dedicated and
named Emancipation Community Park.