The Medgar Evers College community will come together at 1:00pm on Monday, October 28 in the Founders Auditorium at Medgar Evers College at 1650 Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn, to honor the life and legacy of one of its own – former Congressman Major R. Owens – who was also a founder of the 43-year old institution. Congressman Major Owens, who died on October 22, leaves behind a great legacy as a politician, friend, teacher and mentor.
Born in Collierville, Tenn., Congressman Owens earned a bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College and a master’s of library science at Atlanta University. He worked as a librarian at the Brownsville Public Library before entering politics. In the 1960s, he worked as a Commissioner for Community Development on anti-poverty programs in New York City Mayor John Lindsay’s administration and was elected to the New York State Senate in 1974.
Congressman Owens succeeded the retiring Shirley Chisholm in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982, and from 1983 to 2007 represented a diverse Brooklyn congressional district which included heavily Caribbean-American neighborhoods, Park Slope and a large Hasidic area in Crown Heights. In Congress, he helped pass the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and secured funding for Title I Education programs and Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Congressman Owens was a founder of Medgar Evers College in 1970 in acknowledgment of the sacrifice made by Medgar Evers who was assassinated in 1963. Following his 2007 retirement from Congress, he joined the faculty in the Department of Public Administration at his beloved Medgar Evers College where he taught until his death. He brought a special knowledge and wisdom to the classroom impacting the lives of thousands of students during his time at the College.
The Memorial Service
Monday’s program will begin with an ROTC honor guard and will feature a video tribute to Congressman Owens, as well as reflections from Medgar Evers alumnus Natalie Leary, a former mentee of Congressman Owens, whom he helped to get into Syracuse University Graduate School.
Medgar Evers College President Dr. Rudolph Crew will deliver tribute remarks as will Professor Roger Green, a long time friend of the Congressman who worked closely with him in the Department of Public Administration. In addition to performances by Vizion, acknowledgments are also expected from a number of dignitaries who will be in attendance.
The invocation will be delivered by Reverend Clinton Miller, Pastor of Brown Memorial Baptist Church, and the benediction by Assembly Member Karim Camara, who also serves as Pastor of Abundant Life Church in Brooklyn.
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About Medgar Evers College
Located in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Medgar Evers College is a growing institution offering both Associate and Baccalaureate degrees. The nearly 7,000-member student body is primarily comprised of those who are the first in their families to attend college. A senior college within The City University of New York (CUNY) system, Medgar Evers College was established in 1970 with a mandate to meet the educational and social needs of the Central Brooklyn community. With a commitment to students who desire a sound academic foundation as well as an opportunity for personal development, Medgar Evers College seeks to provide high-quality, professional, career-oriented undergraduate degree programs in the context of a liberal arts education. For more information, visit www.mec.cuny.edu.