Hobson City is located in Calhoun County just south of the city of Anniston. At its founding in 1899, Hobson City was the only municipality governed entirely by African Americans in Alabama. It was named for naval hero Richmond Pearson Hobson of the Spanish-American War. In 2010, the Alabama Historical Commission declared the town one of Alabama’s “Places in Peril.”
Leadership of Hobson City, 1902 Hobson City began existence as part of the town of Oxford just south of Anniston. Oxford was incorporated in 1852 as a railroad center. By the 1880s, Oxford had become a recreational destination and was home to Oxford College. After Emancipation, the African American population was relegated to a section of Oxford known as Mooree Quarter. Because the residents of the community were permitted to vote in city and county elections, Oxford’s white population soon sought to remove their sometimes decisive influence over city elections. According to local sources, in 1899, Oxford’s mayor petitioned the state government to redraw the corporate boundaries of the city to exclude Mooree Quarter after an African American man was elected as a justice of the peace. On July 20, 1899, the 125 African American citizens of the excluded section petitioned the county court to incorporate as Hobson City.
Hobson City When the town incorporated on August 16, it was only the second municipality in the United States governed entirely by African Americans (the first being Eatonville, Florida, childhood home of Zora Neale Hurston). The first school, the Hobson City and Oxford Academy, was founded in 1905. The town benefited from the rise of the steel industry in nearby Anniston, and by the mid-twentieth century, Hobson City had a population of 1,500 and numerous businesses. Since the steel industry’s decline in Alabama in the later twentieth century, however, the town has suffered from very high poverty rates and decreasing population.
According to 2020 Census estimates, Hobson City recorded a population of 777. Of that number, 86.5 percent of respondents identified themselves as black, 6.9 percent as white, and 6.6 percent as two or more races. The town’s median household income was $50,145, and the per capita income was $21,652.
According to 2020 Census estimates, the work force in Hobson City was divided among the following industrial categories:
- Manufacturing (25.5 percent)
- Finance and insurance, and real estate and rental and leasing (22.0 percent)
- Educational services, and health care and social assistance (19.6 percent)
- Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (7.5 percent)
- Retail trade (6.8 percent)
- Other services, except public administration (5.0 percent)
- Professional, scientific, and administrative and waste management services (4.3 percent)
- Transportation, warehousing, and utilities (4.3 percent)
- Public administration (2.5 percent)
- Construction (1.9 percent)
- Wholesale trade (0.6 percent)
Hobson City is part of the Oxford City Schools. The Ayers Campus of Gadsden State Community College is located less than two miles to the east.
Although no major roads run through Hobson City, it is bordered to the southeast by U.S. Highway 78 and Interstate 20, both of which run east-west. The town is bordered to the east by U.S. Highway 431. Anniston Metropolitan Airport is located approximately three miles to the south.
Events and Places of Interest
Booker T. Washington Park contains a swimming pool, tennis court, baseball diamond, and bowling alley. The town hosts an annual May Day celebration.