175 Makers of History: Austin M. Ford

Austin M. Ford 50C
Priest; Founder, Emmaus House

Austin Ford

For three decades, Austin M. Ford lived in the long shadow of Atlanta's professional baseball stadium after founding Emmaus House in 1967. Located on the corner of Capitol and Haygood avenues, Emmaus House is dedicated to civil rights and uplifting the city's poorest citizens.

A gardener by avocation, Ford tended the plot around Emmaus House as lovingly as he cultivated his ministry, a mission of the Episcopal Church. His programs offered residents of the Summerhill neighborhood counseling and health-care services, elder day care, a preschool, summer activities for schoolchildren, chapel services, and a once-a-month shuttle bus to Reidsville State Penitentiary for friends and family members of inmates.

The city of Atlanta proclaimed March 1, 2010, Father Austin Ford Day and presented one of its most dedicated servant leaders with the Phoenix Award, the city's highest honor.