Hobson City marker

An historic marker in a mini park in Hobson City. Barbara Boyd is advancing a bill that would preserve the existence of any municipality incorporated under the Code of Alabama 1896 that still exists, even if there are errors in its articles of incorporation.  (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star) 

Scalawag Magazine is one of my favorite online reads. It expertly covers the South without using the normal journalistic crutches that are too common in stories about our region of the country.

This month, reporter Danielle Purifoy wrote in "The South is Everywhere" about what historians and others call the "black map" of American life -- and, in doing so, mentioned Hobson City, Calhoun County's historic African-American town.

She wrote:

"Within that Black nation, according to sociologists Marcus Anthony Hunter and Zandria F. Robinson, are thousands of “chocolate cities.” Hunter and Robinson’s aptly titled book, Chocolate Cities: The Black Map of American Life, is named partially in homage to George Clinton’s 1970s homage to the rapidly waning chocolate city of Washington, D.C. By the time I picked the book up last year, I’d been back in Durham for six years, and had started grappling with the histories and inner workings of chocolate cities in the South scarcely recognized by anyone — West End, Soul City, Princeville, and Navassa in North Carolina, Institute in West Virginia, Tamina and Sandbranch in Texas, White Hall and Hobson City in Alabama, Glendora and Mound Bayou in Mississippi, Arthurtown and Bluefield in South Carolina."

That's the only mention she gives our Hobson City. But in her essay and review of the aforementioned book, Purifoy explains how the hills and valleys of America's racial history -- slavery, diaspora, inequality -- have attacked the notion that black America is the American South, and the American South alone.

She writes:

"If we understand the South as a representation of both 'systemic inequity' and Black interconnectedness, then the South must necessarily be everywhere. Through the four parts of the book — the map, the village, the soul, and the power — Hunter and Robinson convincingly demonstrate not only how Blackness is fundamentally linked across space and time, but also, importantly, how those links generate a form of sacred power that sustains Black folk through every era, and every circumstance."

-- Phillip Tutor

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