Oral history interview with David Owens, 2000


Owens, David (Interviewee)
Michaels, Sheila, 1939-2017 (Interviewer)
Oral history interview with David Owens, 2000
Other Titles
Reminiscences of David Owens, 2000; Oral history of David Owens, 2000
In this interview with Sheila Michaels, David Owens discusses his family history; his experience growing up in Pasadena, California; issues of race; and his work with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Owens discusses the racial composition of his high school and his circle of friends, his friends' experience with discrimination; and the academic trajectory of his classmates after high school. Owens recounts the relationship between his professor father and his students and their social networking outside the classroom. Owens discusses the engagement of Oberlin College students in civil rights activity and his family's decision-making process that allowed him to work with CORE in Mississippi. He discusses canvassing and voter registration efforts and the intimidation that canvassers endured. Owens' goal in Hattiesburg was to gather data on voter intimidation and present facts on interventions keeping local residents from exercising their right to vote. He recounts the beating he, the Rabbi Arthur Lelyveld, and another volunteer received returning while canvassing in Hattiesburg
Collection Name
Sheila Michaels civil rights organization oral history collection
Civil rights movements--History--20th century.--United States; Civil rights workers--History--20th century.--Mississippi; African Americans--Suffrage--Mississippi; United States Race relations 20th century; Hattiesburg (Miss.) History; Owens, David; Congress of Racial Equality; Oberlin College; California Institute of Technology
oral histories
Physical Description
60 pages
Note (Biographical)
David Owens was born in Wisconsin in 1944, the youngest of two sons. His family was close-knit with values in Wisconsin’s progressive tradition. The family had farming roots, but his parents held advanced degrees. His father was a professor of biology , and the family moved to Pasadena, California, so he could teach at the California Institute of Technology. Owens attended integrated public schools in Pasadena for grade school and high school, and then started at Oberlin College in the fall of 1962. He worked on a dairy farm after his freshman year at Oberlin. After his sophomore year, Owens went to Hattiesburg, Mississippi to participate in voter registration efforts with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). After graduating from Oberlin, Owens attended medical school. He practiced medicine for a time before choosing to leave the field for less stressful work
Interviewed by Sheila Michaels on September 25, 2000
Note (Provenance)
Sheila Michaels, Gift circa 2000-2005
Library Location
Columbia Center for Oral History, Columbia University
Browse Location’s Digital Content
Catalog Record
Also In
Oral History Archives at Columbia
Time-Based Media
Time-Based Media
Persistent URL
Related URLs
Available digital content for this interview.