BNHA Sharp-Leadenhall

Interpretive Framework

Gaining Freedom for All: African American Heritage and the Struggle for Equality

Seeking Prosperity on the Chesapeake: Baltimore History from Colonial Times through the 1800s

Resource Type

Historic Neighborhoods

Sharp-Leadenhall is located between M&T Bank Stadium and Federal Hill. It is bounded by I-395 to the west, Hanover Street to the east, W. Ostend Street to the south, and W. Hamburg Street to the north.

Established by former slaves and German immigrants in approximately 1790, the historic South Baltimore neighborhood of Sharp-Leadenhall is rich with 225 years of African American culture. Once anchored by large churches and thriving businesses, the community was home to the Baltimore Abolitionist Society. The society was founded in 1789 and was the first of its kind in the south and the third in the nation. Society members created the African Academy of Baltimore in 1797, which was the first school in the nation built for the purpose of educating African American children.

Religious institutions connected to Sharp-Leadenhall include: Ebenezer AME Church, the city’s oldest standing church (erected in 1865 by African Americans); the original location of Sharp Street Memorial United Methodist Church, founded in 1787 as the first black Methodist congregation in Baltimore; and Leadenhall Baptist Church, established in 1872 and the second-oldest church edifice in Baltimore continuously occupied by the same African American congregation.

As a result of eminent domain and gentrification, portions of Sharp-Leadenhall suffered under the plight of urban renewal. However, the area still maintains its significance as a neighborhood that served as a hub of African American culture for generations.