In 1972, some of Baltimore’s local African American Business men such as Lewis Carthorne aka “Mr. Lewis” who owned “Lewis Sub shop” on Calhoun and Mosher Streets, Douglass Harris, known as “Mr. Doug” who owned the pool hall in the 900 block of Calhoun St., as well as, Doug’s corner store on Stricker St. & Riggs Ave., and other notable men of the community like Eldridge “Mr. Elroy” Clarence, gathered with an idea on changing the imagine and environment of the community of Sandtown Winchester which had not recovered from the riots of 1968. Many corner stores were vacant burned out, critical infrastructure still abandoned which added tremendous blight to an already ravaged community
These men began “The Fish and Hunt Club”, located at 1343 Mosher St. 1st floor rear. They were proud and responsible owners of outdoor sporting activities like, boating, rifles and fishing etc. They regularly hunted and fished as a sport while sharing what they hunted or fished for with those less fortunate in the community.
Many of the founders of the “Fish and Hunt Club” were residents of the Sandtown community; they were owners of businesses or landlords of multiple buildings with in the community.
The gathering of these “distinguished men” in what was known as their “club house” formed what many called “The Men of Sandtown club”. This gathering of renowned men afforded them the ability to collectively use their resources in developing what was the black version of a country club. It was impressive to see the overall way they governed and conducted themselves, as friends and business associates, which promoted for all to witness, positive men, engaged in positive activities. The respect they garnered from the community, as well as the affect they had on the community was astounding.
Many local men desired to be a part of this setting, yet, it was clearly understood that integrity was key amongst these “distinguished men”, and to be a member of this illustrious “hunt and fishing” club, integrity must be maintained, honored, displayed and exhibited at all times.
As years progressed, their health failed, and they passed away, the idea of “fishing and hunting” did not have the same appeal to the city raised, community’s youth. With the death of these communities Titans, the sub-shop was closed, the pool hall was demolished, many of the stalwarts and places of assembly in Sandtown were no longer there, or available. The Titans properties were left abandoned and un-kept by their departed families. Many of those who so loved the community had no place to return, to offer their assistance to others in the community, the Sandtown way of life had disappeared.
Fortunately, the location of the clubhouse for the “Men of Sandtown” , the building located at 1343 Mosher St., was purchased by Eugene “Baldy” Leseane , a young business man and entrepreneur from Sandtown with a vision that involved revitalizing the symbols of his youth and saving the beloved community that he was raised in, and deeply loved, known as Sandtown.
Eugene Leseane or “Baldy” as he is affectionately known, undoubtedly knew that the positive effect of these established men would lend guidance to the forgotten men and youth of the community, Baldy knew the Men of Sandtown could be an important instrument to promote and create change in this faltering community.
In June 1993, “Baldy” opened the Sandtown Barber shop which quickly became a fixture of positivity in the community and currently exist on the corner of Calhoun and Mosher St.
In 2007, “Baldy” commissioned the rekindling or re-establishment of “The Men of Sandtown”, he generously offered the same location in the 1st floor rear of the building located on Calhoun and Mosher St.
In May of 2007, “The Men of Sandtown” were re-established and headed by William Humphrey III, also known as “Dussie”, along with such other notable men like Nathaniel “Sam Bey” Smith who was selected V.P. of The Men Sandtown, along with, Jessie Robinson, Terrance “Urkel” Scott, Ronnie Harris, Antonio “Tony” Griffin, Albert Stokes, John “Gaylord” Timms and Wayne “Curly” Davis, all formed the basis of the recommissioned “Men of Sandtown”.
The men would gather at the club house with their nicely maintained cars parked in the community, coupled with their dapper attire. Their gatherings would cause the young men in the community to take notice, “that through hard and honest work, anything can be achieved”. That old feeling that “Baldy” envisioned was reborn again, “the Men of Sandtown”, once again became a relevant and positive force in the community, young men wanted to emulate their constructive actions.
In April 2010, “The Men of Sandtown” under the direction of then President William Humphrey III aka “Dussie”, and Vice President, Nathaniel Smith aka “Sam Bey”, recognized a community need, they directed the membership to refocus and redirect the Men of Sandtown’s club house into a community bicycle repair shop. As a free bicycle repair shop, the Men of Sandtown gladly assisted any of the youth in the community with their bicycle needs, and through that venue of bicycle safety and repairs, they continued their mentoring and educating the youth against violence and the need of securing a quality education.
Under this leadership, the Men of Sandtown were responsible for several community outings where hotdogs, chicken, burgers and other delectables were served, this atmosphere always create a community event for all. Further, the Men of Sandtown were also responsible for several winter coat drives to assist and help the community youth. Many of these drives were created out of need and not for publicity or notoriety.
In May of 2014, William “Dussie” Humphrey III quietly passed away, his void left the Men of Sandtown stunned, although down and disturbed by this loss, they remained more determined and focused to continue with their mission. Under the guidance of then VP Nathaniel “Sam Bey” Smith and with the blessing of the remaining members of the Men of Sandtown, a decision was made to rehab the existing club house and reconstitute the club to what it really was, a “nonprofit organization”.
The existing members of the club worked endlessly to achieve this goal, and in the process they elected Dr. Albert Stokes to guide them through the initial stages of their redevelopment. Dr. Stokes pursued until it was received, the non-profit status of 501(c) 3 and accordingly, the Men of Sandtown were granted this status by the State of Maryland and also recognized by the Internal Revenue Service.