“People are our textbooks.”

Fr. Albert Sidney Foley, S.J.

The Foley Community Service Center was named in honor of Father Albert Sidney Foley, S.J. a professor of sociology, and a champion of civil rights in Mobile, AL. Fr. Foley worked with fellow leaders of the movement like Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. and Mayor Joseph Langan, in efforts to bring about racial equality in a region that still embraced racial segregation. Thanks to his work for social justice, Spring Hill College was the first college in Alabama, and one of the first in the Deep South, to desegregate. Dr. King mentions the courageous leadership of the Spring Hill Jesuits in his “Letter From a Birmingham Jail.

Fr. Foley’s work also led to the desegregation of Mobile businesses, and downtown lunch counters. His efforts to right the injustices of racism further included his work investigating police brutality against black prisoners, tracking KKK members, and teaching the moral injustice of inequality throughout his career as a professor and researcher.

One of his memorable quotes, “People are our textbooks”, highlights his philosophy that a Spring Hill education involves students being transformed through forming authentic relationships with people at the margins, reflecting on the realities of their lives, and taking informed action to address some of society’s most entrenched social challenges.

In honor of his memory, the Foley Center continues Fr. Foley’s legacy by having our students commit to direct service with people who face the hardships of discrimination and poverty, deepening their understanding of the struggles the marginalized still face. This service promotes the transformation of our students into leaders engaged in learning, faith, justice and service for life.

For more historical information about Father Albert S. Foley S.J. you can visit the following links:

Father Albert Foley: How one priest took on the KKK

Jesuit Educational Excellence Since 1830

Encyclopedia of Alabama- Albert Foley Jr.

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