Southern Normal School Historical Site

The Legacy of Mr. James Dooley Sr.

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The Legacy of Mr. James Dooley Sr.
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2008 Founder's Day Celebration
2009 Founder's Day Celebration
2009 Founder's Day Parade in Brewton, Alabama
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2010 Founder's Day Celebration
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2010 Founder's Day Parade in Brewton, Alabama
2010 Alumni Picnic at Sportsman Park (Brewton Alabama)
2010 Black & White Social
2010 Meet & Greet Kick- Off
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2011 Founder's Day Celebration
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Class of 1955 Celebrates 40 Yrs!
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His philosophy...

Mr. Dooley’s philosophy was based on his strong Christian faith. He believed the solution to the social and economic challenges faced by blacks could be reduced by developing a diverse student, which he called educating “the Head, the Heart and the Hand”.

His Legacy…

Born in 1865, Mr. James Dooley Sr., a black educator and visionary who graduated from Knoxville College despite his family economic hardships. He became a teacher and taught at various schools throughout the southern United States.

While teaching he saw an urgent educational need for black students that had fallen to hands of segregation in Alabama. This exposure validated his dream and vision of creating a faith based learning environment for black students. His ability to raise funds allowed him to realize his dream in 1911 with the founding of Southern Normal School.

He dedicated his life to the development of his students and the community around them. He became one of the “Great” pioneers of black boarding schools in the United States.  

Mr. Dooley died in 1930 but the school remained open for a total of 86 years with the support of the Reform Church of America.  His gravesite lies in the center of the campus surrounded almost 400 acres of suburban land from educational buildings, dormitories to a Chapel that sits across the main street.

Today, the Southern Normal Campus is now owned by Alabama State University and is listed as a historical landmark in Alabama’s register of Landmarks and heritage.

Van Vorst Hall

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Brewton Alabama * US * 36426