In Memoriam: Major Robert Odell Owens, 1936-2013

Major_OwensFormer Congressman from New York, Major R. Owens, died earlier this week at New York University Langone Medical Center from renal and heart failure. He was 77 years old.

Congressmen Owens was a major supporter and advocate for African American higher education during his 12 terms in the House of Representatives. After retiring from Congress in 2006, he taught public administration at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn. He was the author of The Peacock Elite: A Case Study of the Congressional Black Caucus (Grant House Publishers, 2011).

Major Owens was a native of Collierville, Tennessee. He was a 1956 graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta and went on to earn a master of library science degree at what is now Clark Atlanta University. He worked as a librarian in New York for several years and later was the commissioner of the NYC Community Development Agency. Before being elected to Congress in 1982, Owens served in the New York State Senate from 1975 to 1982.


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