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The University of Alabama

UA’s Paul Jones Gallery Showcases #blackgirls4change: Hobson City 9 Exhibit

Image from the

Image from the “#blackgirls4change: The Hobson City 9, Cultivating Community and Creating Change,” exhibit.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala.— A total of 29 images taken by young African American girls from Hobson City will be on display at The University of Alabama’s Paul R. Jones Gallery of Art in downtown Tuscaloosa from Wednesday, Aug. 24, through Friday, Sept. 30.

The exhibit, “#blackgirls4change: The Hobson City 9, Cultivating Community and Creating Change,” is free and open to the public. A reception will be from 5 to 8 p.m.Friday, Sept. 2, at the gallery.

The Hobson City 9 is adapted from the famed Little Rock Nine students who enrolled in Little Rock Central High School in 1957, when public school segregation ended. The Little Rock Nine were denied entry by segregationists, but they later entered with the National Guard’s assistance. Inspired by their perseverance, The Hobson City 9 created this exhibit to represent how a handful of people can change society, and that change begins with engagement on a local or community level.

“What we’re hoping to do is to have these young ladies see themselves as activists and also vessels or advocates for change in their own communities,” said Dr. Michelle Robinson, project facilitator and assistant professor of English.

The project started when Robinson met Hobson City’s mayor, Alberta McCrory, at an event she attended with her students honoring Zora Neale Hurston. This meeting led to the project, which is centered on two of Hobson City’s goals —historic preservation and youth engagement.

For the PhotoVoice exhibit, the Hobson City students took photos and selected three images each, all of which depict places or inanimate objects within the community. Robinson and the graduate students each selected a single image. Each image will also have an artist statement describing its significance.

The project is a collaboration among Hobson City; UA’s College of Arts and Sciences; the department of English; the composition, rhetoric and English studies program; and the Center for Community-Based Partnerships.

The artists are Hobson City residents Aliyáh Ball, Zakerriah Hawkins, Jaden Massey, Tesia Nealy and Melody Williams; composition and rhetoric graduate students Margaret Holloway and Candance Chambers; University of Louisville doctoral student (and former University of Alabama graduate student) Khirsten Echols; and Robinson.

The Paul R. Jones Gallery honors the late Paul R. Jones, who during his lifetime amassed one of the largest collections of African American art in the world. Jones donated more than 2,100 pieces of his collection, now valued at $10.3 million, to UA in 2008. Jones was known as a passionate collector who sought to collect from both well-known and lesser-known artists, a quality which makes his collection distinct.

The Paul R. Jones Gallery is at 2308 Sixth St. in downtown Tuscaloosa. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the first Friday of every month from noon to 8 p.m.

The Paul R. Jones Collection of American Art is part of UA’s College of Arts and Sciences, the University’s largest division and the largest liberal arts college in the state. Students from the College have won numerous national awards included Rhodes Scholarships, Goldwater Scholarships and memberships on the USA Today Academic All American Team.


The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.

  • CONTACT: Courtney Corbridge, communications specialist, 205/348-8639,
  • SOURCE: Karen Kennedy, director of Paul R. Jones and University Galleries, 205/345-3038