was born in Seattle’s “Chinatown”
and lived in a number of Seattle
neighborhoods. As a senior at Franklin
High School, Owens participated
in the Seattle chapter of the Congress
of Racial Equality. After graduating,
he was drafted into the Army and
his experiences in the South during his
military tenure profoundly affected the way he saw discrimination in Seattle.
Out of the service in 1967, he returned to Seattle, began studies at the University of Washington, and joined the Black Panther Party. A member of the Party from 1968 until 1972, he was particularly inspired by the kinds programs that the Party organized to help impoverished people.
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