But that didn't stop the Reverend Bernard Quinn, who, nearly 70 years after his death, is being nominated for sainthood.
Lauren DeFranco has the story.
"He did things not because they are popular, but because they are the right things for kids," said Kevin Kundermueller, of Little Flower Children's Services.
There is no doubt the legacy of Monsignor Quinn lives on at Little Flower. It started as a camp and an orphanage for black children, giving them hope and inspiration at a time when there was little of either.
"He loved the black people so much that he said, 'I would give my last drop of blood for you,'" Sr. Agnes Paltzynski said.
In fact, the extraordinary life of Quinn has been chronicled in "The Quintessential Priest." The book details his struggle to provide a sanctuary for black children.
The camp, in Wading River, was burned down twice by the KKK.
Now, the Irish-American priest, who died at the age of 52, is being considered for canonization.
"You have to have your heroics, you have to have some outstanding attributes about you and about what you have done for people in the name of God," Sr. Madaline Kanich said.
Those who live and work at Little Flower insist you can feel Quinn's spirit every day while working with the children. And it's that strong spirit that makes him a prime candidate for sainthood.
"Being able to put the spotlight on good deeds, good work, good things, maybe that's what all of us need nowadays," Kundmueller said.