Al Pride grew up in West Philadelphia and attended Overbrook High School. Al credits the work ethic of his mother and father as a guiding force in his early life. This helped him to excel academically and athletically. Upon his graduation from high school, Pride went to work for the Philadelphia Mint and then the Social Security Administration. These work experiences made him realize that he wanted more in life and he began to think about higher education.
Pride’s higher education plans were interrupted when he enlisted in the Army. Rather than wait to get drafted, Pride enlisted with several friends from Philadelphia so they could go to basic training together in South Carolina. Pride spent three years in the military and was stationed in California and Okinawa, working in communication security.
In September 1968, Pride was given his release from the military to pursue higher education. When he enrolled at Philadelphia Community College, Al was the first member of the Pride family to go college. After several years at PCC, Pride transferred to Villanova to continue his studies and to play football.
Being an older student, Pride felt very comfortable on Villanova’s campus from the outset as he was prepared academically and socially for the transition. Pride was looked up to by many students on the football team and by fellow black students, earning the nickname “Grandpa.” Pride lived in Moriarty Hall but admittedly did not spend much time socializing on campus. Besides growing up nearby and spending time with family and friends, he had a full schedule of academics and athletics. As time passed at Villanova, Pride became more concerned about his academic success and less about success on the football field.
Pride started out as a student in the College of Commerce and Finance. However, as he interacted with faculty and staff mentors, Pride indicated that being a business mogul seemed less important and his focus changed to education. Pride saw the difference educators can make in the lives of others and he was drawn to this profession. Pride counted Father Breslin and Dr. Ed Collymore as the two men who deeply influenced his time at Villanova and his life’s direction.
After successfully working in the Philadelphia school system, and as an administrator and instructor at a junior college in New Jersey, Dr. Pride relocated to St. Louis, Missouri, for three years to work with a telephone company and a regional educational laboratory. Upon relocation to DeKalb County, Georgia, Dr. Pride began working with the General Motors Corporation as a trainer in the Corporation’s Marketing and Educational Services Division. As a result of a lot of long-distance traveling, he decided to develop a business enterprise which lasted nine years before it was interrupted by the U.S. Army Reserve call-up for Desert Storm. Dr. Pride returned to the education arena in DeKalb County where he has been working in several capacities. Dr. Pride is currently working at Snapfinger Elementary School. Snapfinger’s counseling program is the only program in Georgia that is nationally recognized by the American School Counseling Association.
Dr. Pride’s family (wife, son, and daughter) have lived in DeKalb County for 27 years.
Please note - the oral history interview with Dr. Pride was conducted by telephone.Therefore, the video is blank but please click on the boxes below for audio excerpts.