Twomey Scholar in Residence
In 2023, JSRI launched the Father Louis J. Twomey, S.J., Legacy Scholar in Residence Program to honor the life and work of Fr. Twomey, one of the greatest social apostles the Jesuit Province of the South ever produced. The program will invite a distinguished scholar who has retired from a life of service in a field of study related to one or more of JSRI’s core issues (race, poverty, and migration) and Catholic Social Teachings to reflect and write about their life’s work. The Twomey Legacy Scholar is invited to spend one calendar year at JSRI to reflect on their legacy and learnings to create a Blueprint for Social Justice. The scholar will have a dedicated office at JSRI and access to resources to host events and convenings including the Twomey lecture in the Fall semester, which will present the scholar’s published Blueprint for Social Justice.
Background: Fr. Twomey was a Loyola alumnus (1931) and beloved Jesuit priest who returned to Loyola University New Orleans in 1947 to found the Institute of Industrial Relations. It’s mission was to promote fairer conditions for all people in their various places of work, with express support for union organizing, as well as improving labor-management relations. Fr. Twomey was an early and outspoken advocate for racial justice, hosting racially integrated classes at Loyola, starting in 1950. Fr. Twomey’s monthly newsletter, Blueprint for the South, was an inspiration for a generation of Jesuits and lay people engaged in the fight for equal rights for all Americans. Dr. Daniel Thompson, a contemporary of Fr. Twomey and professor at Dillard University said, “Twomey was a voice crying in the wilderness. He was one of the greatest leaders New Orleans ever had.”7
JSRI has invited Ronnie Moore, a civil rights legend and criminal justice reform champion, to join us as the inaugural Fr. Twomey Legacy Scholar for 2023. Mr. Moore was expelled from Southern University Baton Rouge in 1961 for his role as a student organizer leading protests to desegregate lunch counters in downtown Baton Rouge. He was the field secretary for the Congress of Racial Equality and a lead organizer for the Freedom Summer in Iberville Parish in 1964, which is featured in the Louisiana Diary. He was also the Executive Director of the Scholarship, Education and Defense Fund for Racial Equality, Inc. (1965-1973), the Director of Resident Initiatives at Tulane University (1996-2005), and the director of the African American Youth Congress (1982-1994). Ronnie Moore has spent the past 15 years working for Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans as a community organizer leading criminal justice reform efforts. At Catholic Charities he was the architect for the first AmeriCorp program in the nation to hire formerly incarcerated people. Mr. Moore retired this year and continues to organize community efforts. His papers are featured in the Amistad Research Center at Tulane.