Sociology professor Matthew Crenson led a group of students to both modern and historic locations around Baltimore on Sunday, helping them to understand the history and significance of various landmarks and sights around the city.
Junior Eli Wallach organized the event in conjunction with the sociology department.
“We went to some very historic churches and cemeteries, where we saw Edgar Allan Poe’s grave,” Wallach said. “We went through West Baltimore and saw the old homes of many important figures in the city’s history and in the history of the U.S.”
The participants of the tour viewed it as a learning experience.
“I learned a lot about the history of Baltimore, which I believe all Baltimoreans and students who go to school here should know,” senior Benjamin Tsoi said.
He explained that the tour offers a new perspective on Baltimore.
“The first thing many new arrivals to Hopkins learn is where the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ neighborhoods are. It is important to know that the black-white dichotomy of Baltimore has deep historic roots tracing back to before the Civil War,” Tsoi said. “The city had one of the largest free black populations, which ironically led the city to impose segregation earlier than most other sizable cities in the U.S.”
Junior Victor Osio found the atmosphere of the tour to be immersive and conducive to learning.
“I think a small group allows students to really be more active and participatory by asking the professor questions and interacting amongst ourselves,” Osio said.
Crenson discussed a wide time span of Baltimore’s history, beginning with the War of 1812, part of which took place in Patterson Park in East Baltimore. Many aspects of the city were different in earlier times.
“We learned that the city used to dump its sewage into the harbor, and it gave Baltimore a very bad smell,” Wallach said.
Wallach thought the event as a whole was successful, and he plans to organize the sociology bus tour again in the future.
“It was a great event, and I can’t wait to do it again next year. Everyone should get to know this city, since it’s a great city with an interesting and important history,” Wallach said.
Tsoi advised students to participate in this experience as underclassmen.
“Don’t wait until senior year — like myself — to deeply explore Baltimore. The city has a lot of history and amazing places and restaurants to visit,” Tsoi said.
The tour began at 10 a.m. and ended at 1:30 p.m. It included a detour for lunch at Lexington Market, where the group ate crab cakes at Faidley Seafood.