Hugo A. Owens: Dentist, civil rights leader, politician

James T. Rule, Muriel J. Bebeau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


For 44 years Dr Hugo A. Owens was a distinguished practitioner and community leader in Portsmouth and Chesapeake, Virginia, and also served for a time as president of the National Dental Association. Besides his proclivity for dentistry, he was driven by two other passions: pol¬itics and civil rights. In 1970 he was one of the first African Americans ever elected to the Ches¬apeake City Council. He was reelected for the next term and appointed vice mayor, a position he held for 8 years. His political successes were preceded by his activities as a civil rights lead¬er, which began in 1950 and lasted through the 1960s. In a remarkable series of negotiations and litigations, Dr Owens was the prime mover in the desegregation of the city of Portsmouth. In all three "careers," Dr Owens used dentistry as a home base for the expression of his activist philosophy of providing help for others when they were unable to help themselves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)753-763
Number of pages11
JournalQuintessence international
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2000


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