Category Archives: Sharp Leadenhall


Upon receiving this assignment I was skeptical about heading down to Baltimore to interview a random person on the street. Once I actually got the opportunity to conduct an interview, however, I was happy I was able to be part of the study.  I held my interview in the Sharp Leadenhall community with two of its members.  Both people were waiting to work for the Ravens by handing out surveys to the fans during the fourth quarter. As a way for the Ravens Corporation to “give back” to the community, the member’s of Sharp Leadenhall are given the opportunity to hand out these surveys for $30 a game. The woman I interviewed, Monica, seemed less than thrilled to be spending her Sunday in the stadium but explained that “a dollar is a dollar.” As I spoke to Monica and then interviewed her, it became clear that she was very happy with the election of President Obama.  The smile on her face clearly expressed how delighted she was with his election and the impact it has had and continues to have on her life. After the interview was over a man named Derrick standing nearby asked me what I was doing and I describe the assignment to him.  He asked if he could be a participant and I graciously accepted his thoughts and opinions. Like Monica, Derrick also seemed quite pleased with our new president.
Overall, I am very glad we were given this assignment because it allowed me to venture into an area in which I was not 100% comfortable.  I am now able to better understand the concept of fieldwork and appreciate the work of anthropologists a little more.



The whole fieldwork experience was quite enlightening in that it gave me perspective to a voice not ordinarily heard.  When going about the assignment, I wanted to interview a resident of Sharp Leadenhall because I heard it was a close-knit community.  I was very pleased with the interview’s results.  I approached Gary and he seemed more than happy to answer my questions.

It was interesting to get the point of view of a veteran on the election of Obama as well as his point of view on Obama’s effectiveness so far.  Gary was also a homeless veteran, which opened my eyes to the issue of housing for veterans after they’ve completed their service.  I have seen a large number of homeless veterans in the suburbs of DC, where I live.  I gained further insight to the hardships faced by many veterans after talking to one.

I liked getting the point of view of someone in such a strong community like that of Sharp Leadenhall.  The way the community has fought to be recognized brings the members of the community closer together.  Since housing is a relevant issue in Sharp Leadenhall, I felt it was appropriate to interview a resident of this neighborhood.

I learned a lot about the people of Baltimore from this project.  I was able to visit a lesser-known neighborhood of Baltimore and get a feel for the community within it.  Obama’s presidency has definitely positively impacted Gary and after viewing other interviews posted online by students, I saw this was also true for many other residents of Baltimore.


I was in Sharp Leadenhall on a sunny but chilly Friday afternoon for a meeting with a Reverend from one of the churches I am focusing on for my research project and brought my camera along to get an interview for this project. I walked up and down a few streets in the neighborhood but there weren’t a lot of people there. The people that I did see were passing through or gave me an odd look which made me feel a bit out of place.
Hoping to see more people, I drove down Light St. where there were a lot of retail stores and little shops. I strolled around, watching people and passing small cafes and shops that sold accessories for dogs. I stopped and asked one man, who was in a wheel chair, if he would mind participating in a short interview but he declined so I walked up the street and asked a man walking my way if he had a moment to talk with me about the election of President Obama. The man’s name is Corum Hayes and he agreed to do the interview so we stepped off the main road to try and avoid noise from traffic Although the external noises don’t do much for video and audio quality, the unavoidable sirens and squeaky cars further add to the environment of the interview.
I felt that this project was able to get an initial reaction to the questions and was a great way to get short-term fieldwork that has the prospect of engaging a larger discussion. I don’t doubt the honesty of Corum’s answers but I believe that had we had a longer discussion or I went back and asked him the same questions on different days, our conversation would get more in depth and possibly more controversial (which is not a bad thing for this project).


When I first heard abo    ut our assignment to go into Baltimore City and conduct an interview about President Obama, I was not really looking forward to it. I was afraid of a number of things; finding a stranger in the city, the outcome of the interview, and making sure I did not let my own feelings about President Obama show.
I volunteered at Sharp LeadenHall on September 27th to help raise money for the community at a concession stand outside of the Ravens game. In doing this just for one day I had a whole new respect and outlook on the communities in the city, especially Sharp Leadenhall. The Sharp Leadenhall community was torn away from a neighboring community due to a highway being built between them. Once the Ravens stadium was built, a bridge was built that goes from Sharp Leadenhall to stadium and to the other side of the stadium which was said to help keep the communities intact with each other. The residents of Sharp Leadenhall have been in constant fear of their community being ripped apart by the government wanting to continue to industrialize their area which would result in taking away many homes and history. I learned all this through the people I was working with that day and was able to see that through all this they continue to keep a smile on their face, have a good time, and try and raise money each Sunday outside the Stadium. I had an amazing time with everyone and my fears of this project were gone.
There were a couple of people I really sought after to interview but others had gotten to them first. Then a man who works in the community and throughout Baltimore city caught my eye and I knew he would be perfect to interview. I knew he had different views from me and if I had not volunteered that day I would have been skeptical about it. Now my whole attitude changed and I was excited to hear what he had to say. Due to his occupation he is not allowed to give his views on such matters. I was disappointed that I could not interview him but he said he “would just love to answer my questions”. I only had my recording camera with me so in order to satisfy us both, I pointed the camera away from him and we conducted the interview. He wished to remain Anonymous and so he will. I was very grateful and lucky to interview someone who really wanted their voice to be heard.

Kelly (Sharp Leadenhall)

I conducted my interview in the community of Sharp Leadenhall. The ladies in the video were bystanders at the community’s concession stand for Raven’s home games. Although they did not directly participate in the stand, they were there to support their community. When I asked the one of seniors if I could ask her a few questions she seemed timid, so I recommended that another friend of hers be in the video as well. Overall the ladies were shy in their responses. They seemed to like Obama, but didn’t have any specific reasons why. When I asked about the question about Obama and his efforts in urban housing, the ladies didn’t have much of a response. It was as if they had never heard of any plans to help low-income urban areas.


I have only visited the city of Baltimore, Maryland for certain reasons. None of those reasons were to conduct anthropological fieldwork. Equipped with only a video camera and my ‘OBaltimore’ project packet I set off on my first fieldwork experience. I hoped that Sunday, October 11, 2009 would be the best day to conduct my research since I would be in Baltimore that day anyway to volunteer for Sharp-Ledenhall. The day was finally upon me, the sun was shinning, it was a perfect fall day, and the Ravens were playing at home against their division rival, the Cincinnati Bengals. I figured everyone would be in good spirits and more eager to give an interview.

When I arrived at the volunteer site around 8:30am the other volunteers and I were greeted by residents of the Sharp-Ledenhall neighborhood. Throughout all the days work I tried to have a conversation with each resident to gain insight on who might have more knowledge about the questions I planned on asking, who fit the qualifications I was looking for in an informant, and who would be willing to give an interview. I soon realized that the interview would have to wait until after one o’clock, after the Ravens game started. After the game had started I lost a few potential interviews which was disappointing but ended up meeting a man named Lyn. He was born in Virginia but has been living in Baltimore for over twenty years. While talking to him I knew he would prove to be a valuable informant. The only problem was getting him to stop talking. During our conversation I learned that we shared a common passion for the law. He used to be a lawyer for the state of Maryland and I want to go to law school. By finding a common interest I was able to connect with Lyn on a more personal level. Once I got him talking it was hard to get him to stop without seeming rude. Fortunately I was able to diverge the conversation towards the classes I was taking at Towson University and a project I have to do for my Cultural Anthropology class. He was more than happy to do the interview and answer the questions I had for him. He seemed excited at the thought of having a video with him in it on the internet. I hope that he spoke loud enough because the speakers on the video recorder do not pick up sound well. To counter this I conducted the interview in a more quiet spot and held the recorder closer to the speaker. I really enjoyed completing this assignment. Actually going out and experiencing a type anthropological fieldwork was a lot of fun. The only aspect I wish that was different was the questions. This assignment could have been more challenging if we had to make up the questions.


When the O’Baltimore project was assigned, I was excited to find my potential prospects and get started on the interviews.  For a couple weeks, I contemplated where I would find good candidates for the interviews.  This is when I became a bit worried I would not find someone willing to do a videotaped interview.   After the initial excitement to do actual fieldwork, I became nervous because I did not know where to begin!  I did not know how to approach someone, requesting to videotape and post his or her videos. I must say, I am not a shy person, so in the beginning I figured I would handle the situation easily.  However, the whole videotaping through me off a little.   In addition to videotaping an individual, I was required to ask questions about President Obama, which can be quite the controversial topic.  Another challenge to this assignment was that I am not super familiar with Baltimore.  Although I am a Marylander, I am from the Eastern Shore, which is completely different from Baltimore.  I was scared to venture into Baltimore alone and ask people for interviews.

So the search began for my O’Baltimore prospect!  First, I took the easier route and called my mom for some help.  My mom actually works in Baltimore and so I asked her if any of her coworkers that are from Baltimore would be willing to do an interview.   She asked around and a few said yes they would gladly do an interview.  The next task was to figure out a way to get in to the city and meet my mom.  We thought we had it all figured out, but the day I had planned to go it rained, of course.  Luckily, I had a backup plan.

That Sunday I had planned to volunteer at the Sharp Leaden Hall concession stand for a few hours.  Once the interviews at my mom’s work failed, I just decided to focus on interviewing some of the members of the Sharp Leaden Hall community.  This actually worked out great!  After spending a few hours handing out freshly grilled Italian sausages, burgers and hot dogs, I became close to these community members.  I felt like this was the prime opportunity for some interviews with local Baltimoreans.  After all, I was not as nervous to approach them since we had spent part of the morning together and they all knew we were Towson students.

I asked two older women who had been participating at the concession stand if I could interview them and I explained the circumstances.  They asked me if they could do it together.  I said yes of course and we began the interviews.   It was interesting to hear their responses and acknowledge what they value in life.  Although one woman was quiet, I still believe the interview was successful.  I am glad I completed this assignment because it opened my eyes to what Anthropological fieldwork consists of, and I definitely enjoyed the experience.