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HPL News

Fourth Ward, Motherward: Photographs by Elbert Howze 

by Lisa Carrico on 2022-07-21T17:27:00-05:00 in Exhibits, Houston and Texas, African American History | Comments

July 30, 2022 – October 22, 2022 

The African American Library at the Gregory School

1300 Victor Street, 77019 | 832-393-1440


Fourth Ward, Motherward, an exhibit of photographs by Elbert Howze, is on view at the African American Library at the Gregory School from July 30 to October 8, 2022.

Elbert Howze (1951 – 2015) was born in Detroit, Michigan. He moved to Houston in 1973 and continued his education at the University of Houston, receiving a B.F.A. in fine art, a B.S. in technology and business technology, and an M.F.A. in photography.

Freedmen’s Town, Fourth Ward was founded by newly freed African Americans in 1865 and quickly grew into a successful, bustling, and self-sufficient community. By the middle of the 20th century, the landlocked neighborhood saw its population decline as residents moved to other Black communities around the city. Neglect, government redevelopment programs, private developers, and the relentless march toward gentrification led to the demolition of historic homes.

When Howze took an interest in the community in the 1980s, he described Fourth Ward as “a place of neglect and decay which appears to be deliberate by plan.” Although he acknowledged the physical decline of the area, Howze decided to focus his lens on its residents, preserving the enduring spirit of the neighborhood.

This exhibit is free and open to the public. Exhibit dates are subject to change.

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