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Owens, George Washington (1875-1950) | Morse Department of Special Collections

Name: Owens, George Washington (1875-1950)

Historical Note:

1875      Born on farm near Alma, Kansas; parents, Samuel F. and Anna M. (Gordon) Owens, were former slaves who migrated to Kansas by river boat and received 50 acres of free public land in Wabaunsee County, Kansas.

1894      Mother died of cancer. 

1896      Enrolled at Kansas State Agricultural College where he was the only black student. 

1899      First black to graduate from K-State (June 8). Accepted position at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama with Booker T. Washington, Principal, and George Washington Carver, Director of Agriculture. 

1900      Placed in charge of dairy herd and creamery at Tuskegee, a faculty position. George and Waddie

1901    Married Waddie L. Hill, a graduate of Clark University in Atlanta; they had four children, one died in 1902; other children graduated from Virginia State College. 

1907      Father died of tuberculosis. 

1908    Took position at Virginia Normal and Industrial School (later named Virginia State College) in Petersburg to establish agricultural program. 

1918      Selected to organize vocational agriculture in county training schools in Virginia. 

1919      Established first 5 black departments of vocational agriculture under Virginia State Board for Vocational Education. 

1920    Officially designated as state teacher-trainer, Virginia State College. George Washington Owens, 1920

1921    Wife, Waddie, died. 

1927    Wrote constitution and by-laws for New Farmers of Virginia, the beginning of national organization, New Farmers of America, which joined the Future Farmers of America in 1965. 

1932    In recognition of 25 years of service to Virginia State College, the new agricultural  building was named Owens Hall. 

1945    Retired as chairman of Department of Agriculture at Virginia State College. 

1950    Died at age 75. 

1978    George Washington Owens Papers donated to University Archives and Manuscripts by his daughter,  Ana Elnora Owens.

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