I've only recently realized how little I know about the place I've called home for the majority of my life after joining this team and getting involved in fieldwork. I've passed a lot of significant structures on foot and in my car while merely considering them to be additional structures in the metropolis. When I go out, it's usually to hang out with people or to fulfill a particular plan, but when I'm conducting fieldwork, I just go out to see what's there without hurrying and am able to walk on the street rather than drive through. While taking pictures is enjoyable, there are moments when I feel a little creepy because some of the structures are residences or schools. When that occurs, I ponder whether the locals are aware of the past of their neighborhoods or if they have a personal link. While surveying, I visited a few locations with which I had a personal link without being aware of the significance of the location until after.
Odessa Brown Clinic was among our first locations. I was curious to visit because I used to schedule doctor and dental visits at Odessa Brown Clinic when I was younger. Before I took on this assignment and engaged in fieldwork, I had no real understanding of the building's historical significance. It brought back a lot of emotions because it was the first time I had been since I was a child. Surveying and taking photos revealed how much has changed over time. It was disappointing to learn that the building would be shut down or demolished, but I believe this also highlights how important it is for us to document these locations in order to inform the public and preserve them.
The African American Academy was another somewhat personal structure we looked at. When we arrived at the location, I was surprised because I recognized the structure—it was the school that my younger brother attended in the past, but I knew it as Van Asselt Elementary. I used to simply see it as the school my little brother attended as I drove by it whenever I was in Seattle, but after doing fieldwork and taking a visit, I now know much more about it and appreciate the significance of the institution.
The fieldwork I've been doing has certainly forced me out of my comfort zone because it's taken me to places, I've never really been and taken pictures of things. However, I can say that overall, thanks to my fieldwork, I've learned a lot more about the city I reside in and have had a chance to experience it more.