Eva Hardy Jones: Powell School’s Legendary Principal

 ========= Old Image Removed =========Array
(
    [_wp_attached_file] => Array
        (
            [0] => 2016/05/Powell_School_1908.jpg
        )

    [_wp_attachment_metadata] => Array
        (
            [0] => a:5:{s:5:"width";i:640;s:6:"height";i:465;s:4:"file";s:30:"2016/05/Powell_School_1908.jpg";s:5:"sizes";a:10:{s:6:"medium";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:30:"Powell_School_1908-336x244.jpg";s:5:"width";i:336;s:6:"height";i:244;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:9:"thumbnail";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:30:"Powell_School_1908-140x140.jpg";s:5:"width";i:140;s:6:"height";i:140;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:9:"wbhm-icon";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:28:"Powell_School_1908-80x80.jpg";s:5:"width";i:80;s:6:"height";i:80;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:13:"wbhm-featured";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:30:"Powell_School_1908-600x338.jpg";s:5:"width";i:600;s:6:"height";i:338;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:20:"wbhm-featured-square";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:30:"Powell_School_1908-600x465.jpg";s:5:"width";i:600;s:6:"height";i:465;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:18:"wbhm-featured-home";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:30:"Powell_School_1908-428x311.jpg";s:5:"width";i:428;s:6:"height";i:311;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:22:"wbhm-featured-carousel";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:30:"Powell_School_1908-365x265.jpg";s:5:"width";i:365;s:6:"height";i:265;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:28:"ab-block-post-grid-landscape";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:30:"Powell_School_1908-600x400.jpg";s:5:"width";i:600;s:6:"height";i:400;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:25:"ab-block-post-grid-square";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:30:"Powell_School_1908-600x465.jpg";s:5:"width";i:600;s:6:"height";i:465;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:14:"post-thumbnail";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:30:"Powell_School_1908-125x125.jpg";s:5:"width";i:125;s:6:"height";i:125;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}}s:10:"image_meta";a:12:{s:8:"aperture";s:1:"0";s:6:"credit";s:0:"";s:6:"camera";s:0:"";s:7:"caption";s:0:"";s:17:"created_timestamp";s:1:"0";s:9:"copyright";s:0:"";s:12:"focal_length";s:1:"0";s:3:"iso";s:1:"0";s:13:"shutter_speed";s:1:"0";s:5:"title";s:0:"";s:11:"orientation";s:1:"0";s:8:"keywords";a:0:{}}}
        )

    [_imagify_optimization_level] => Array
        (
            [0] => 1
        )

    [_imagify_data] => Array
        (
            [0] => a:2:{s:5:"stats";a:3:{s:13:"original_size";i:120715;s:14:"optimized_size";i:85464;s:7:"percent";d:29.199999999999999;}s:5:"sizes";a:8:{s:4:"full";a:5:{s:7:"success";b:1;s:8:"file_url";s:58:"https://news.wbhm.org/media/2016/05/Powell_School_1908.jpg";s:13:"original_size";i:120715;s:14:"optimized_size";i:85464;s:7:"percent";d:29.199999999999999;}s:9:"thumbnail";a:2:{s:7:"success";b:0;s:5:"error";s:77:"WELL DONE. This image is already compressed, no further compression required.";}s:6:"medium";a:2:{s:7:"success";b:0;s:5:"error";s:77:"WELL DONE. This image is already compressed, no further compression required.";}s:13:"wbhm-featured";a:2:{s:7:"success";b:0;s:5:"error";s:77:"WELL DONE. This image is already compressed, no further compression required.";}s:20:"wbhm-featured-square";a:2:{s:7:"success";b:0;s:5:"error";s:77:"WELL DONE. This image is already compressed, no further compression required.";}s:18:"wbhm-featured-home";a:2:{s:7:"success";b:0;s:5:"error";s:77:"WELL DONE. This image is already compressed, no further compression required.";}s:22:"wbhm-featured-carousel";a:2:{s:7:"success";b:0;s:5:"error";s:77:"WELL DONE. This image is already compressed, no further compression required.";}s:14:"post-thumbnail";a:2:{s:7:"success";b:0;s:5:"error";s:77:"WELL DONE. This image is already compressed, no further compression required.";}}}
        )

    [_imagify_status] => Array
        (
            [0] => success
        )

    [_media_credit] => Array
        (
            [0] => Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation
        )

    [_navis_media_credit_org] => Array
        (
            [0] => 
        )

    [_navis_media_can_distribute] => Array
        (
            [0] => 
        )

    [_edit_lock] => Array
        (
            [0] => 1462488292:77
        )

    [_wp_attachment_image_alt] => Array
        (
            [0] => The Powell School in 1908.
        )

    [_edit_last] => Array
        (
            [0] => 77
        )

)
1525667032 
1463131461

WBHM recently reported on Birmingham’s surplus schools and community frustrations around the vacant buildings. Powell School is among them. Powell was Birmingham’s first and oldest public school, built in 1888. Listeners wanted to hear more about the school’s history, so reporter Mary Scott Hodgin has this profile of Eva Hardy Jones, one of the school’s most famous leaders. 

Eva Hardy Jones became principal of Powell School in 1976. Around this time, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places, but it and its students were in need.

Many of Powell’s students lived in the nearby Metropolitan Gardens, a massive housing project with 910 units (demolished in 2002 and replaced by the Park Place apartments). When Jones became principal, the school lacked a gymnasium and a library. The building was old, with only 12 classrooms, and students were occasionally moved to the nearby Phillips High School because of structural issues.

Bulletin boards display uplifting quotes at the entrance of Powell.
Photo Courtesy of Michael Calvert

Bulletin boards display uplifting quotes at the entrance of Powell.

Jones brought hope to Powell. During her time at the school, she filled the halls with inspirational quotes and transformed the walls into painted bookshelves. Community members say she went out of her way to guarantee that all kids received an education, even offering to personally transport students to and from school. In the 1980s, Jones persuaded the school board to purchase the adjacent Trailways Bus Station. Jones converted this space into a gymnasium for students, and it was eventually dedicated as the Eva Hardy Jones Annex.

“One of the remarkable things is, you can still see the influence of principal Eva Hardy Jones in the murals and bulletin boards,” says Michael Calvert with the Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation. “She didn’t have a library, but she painted this room as if there were shelves with books. And the bulletin board still has, ‘There’s magic in teamwork, working together towards a common vision.’ She was a great principal.”

The walls are still painted like bookshelves, an effort by Eva Hardy Jones.
Photo Courtesy of Michael Calvert

The walls are still painted like bookshelves, an effort by Eva Hardy Jones.

More Economy Coverage

Alabama Legislature Drops Resistance, OKs Medical Marijuana

The bill faced strong resistance among House lawmakers.

WBHM Wins Four Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards

Public Radio WBHM 90.3 FM has won four regional Edward R. Murrow awards, including the award for Overall Excellence. WBHM also won awards in these categories: Continuing Coverage – The pandemic rages through Alabama, WBHM News Team Excellence in Sound – “Through The Intercom, Nursing Home Employee Sings To Residents” by Mary Scott Hodgin Hard […]

New Orleans’ Return To Cultural Parades Is A Step Toward Healing In The South

In April, Mardi Gras Indians held a funeral and parade for one of their own – one of a few large cultural events to occur since the pandemic started and most large events in the region were canceled.

Fentanyl Overdose Deaths Increase 100% In Jefferson County

The powerful synthetic opioid is now being mixed with drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine, leading to more overdose deaths.

Retiring Children’s Of Alabama CEO Expects Medicaid To Face Budget Pressure Again

CEO Mike Warren said he thought he could fix Medicaid, but he was naive.

Alabama Health Officials: ‘Plenty’ Of COVID-19 Vaccines

While about 30% of Alabamians have received at least one shot of a COVID vaccine, officials said demand has declined in recent weeks, leaving thousands of unused doses sitting on shelves.

More Economy Coverage