Category Archives: Historical Source

Charlotta Bright Norby

I was very young when I was [worked at Emmaus House], and I was Danish, so I learned an awful lot, and it was very exciting to me to be here. Not only did I learn about Emmaus House and how Emmaus House worked, but also about America and about poverty and about race relations. And it was really exciting to me. I learned a lot, and it has had an incredible impact on my life since then. Read more »

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Ann Fowler

Ann FowlerThe pattern to our day was that around 2 o’clock, the intern that was at Emmaus House and I would walk down to the elementary school there in the neighborhood. It was important to me that we have a “walking school bus.” We would go down [and] pick up the kids, [and] walk back up to Emmaus House. I thought it was important for the community to see that this is something that Emmaus House is doing in the community. Also, the kids knew the community, but it was good for me to be a presence out there and to see the other folks that are on the streets. Read more »

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Ray Quinnelly

Ray QuinnellyThe Poverty Rights Office was in-your-face advocacy done by upper-middle class white ladies who did not have any patience—they did not suffer fools kindly, let’s say—with anybody that was going to yank the poor around. Read more »

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Austin Ford

Father Austin FordThe place was a terrible wreck. It had been a sort of flophouse for alcoholics. There were signs on the doors saying, “Two dollars a night” and things like that. And I remember Sister Mary Joseph—later she became Sister Mary Rose—[chuckles] she had to have a cigar to clean out the place, there was such an awful smell. Anyway, we all went there, and then there was a Moravian seminary student who came. So the four of us went there, moved in and just waited to see what would happen. Read more »

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Mimi (Sister Marie) Bodell

You know what was really touching? The night during the election [of President Barack Obama]. . . .I can’t tell you how many Emmaus House volunteers called me and then I called one or two saying, “Can you believe it? Did you ever think we would live to see this day?” We were all connected at that election, forty years later. Someone called me and said, “Well, you must feel that your work is really done now.” . . . I thought it was also unbelievable that all of us, like ten of us or more, were all on the phone with each other. We don’t see each other that much, but there was no time difference. It was just this moment, and there was this feeling that all our work had helped elect our first African American president. We were bursting with pride for our new president. Read more »

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Grace Stone

Grace StoneThen Muriel [Lokey] I think again asked me if I would be interested in this new project that they were starting, which was going to be the Poverty Rights Office. This was partly the inspiration from the Welfare Rights Organization headed by the wonderful and inimitable Mrs. [Ethel Mae] Mathews. What happened was that, as I remember the story, Austin or somebody—it might have been a woman named Petie Cayson, who was not there very long. But somebody persuaded the Welfare Department to put in, with one of the welfare checks, a statement from Emmaus House saying to them, in effect: If you have trouble with the Welfare Department, if you need help with something, just here’s our telephone number. Call us up, and we’ll see what we can do to help you. Read more »

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Dennis Goldstein

I think in the beginning [Father Austin Ford] said, “you’re gonna work on this and this and this, but then if you have other free time, develop your own program. Figure out something to do for the community.” I became a self starter. That didn’t work for a lot of people, but for me it was a great opportunity. So an early example of that was with the kids—let’s figure out how to get a better playground. Read more »

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Emmaus House News

The Emmaus House News reveals the range of activities undertaken at Emmaus House in the 1970s and 1980s. Read more »

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Muriel Lokey Papers

Poor People's NewspaperSelections from the Muriel Lokey Papers, including the Poor Peoples Newspaper and Poverty Rights Office materials, are provided courtesy of Atlanta History Center. Read more »

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David Morath Papers

David Morath worked on staff at Emmaus House from September 1970 until August 1972. The letters in this collection — from David to his parents in Westminster, Maryland — were saved by his mother. Rich with descriptions of neighborhood conditions, welfare rights meetings, and staff activities, the Morath letters provide a glimpse in to the day-to-day experience of working for social change in the urban South. Read more »

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