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, Virginia. Besides his affinity to for dentistry, he was driven by two other passions: politics and civil rights. In 1970 he was one of the first African-Americans elected to the Portsmouth City Council. He was reelected for the next term and appointed Vice Mayor, a position he held for eight years. His political successes were preceded by his activities as a civil rights leader, 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 do things for themselves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-10
Number of pages5
JournalThe Journal of the American College of Dentists
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2008


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