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Congressman Major Owens
(b. June 28, 1936)
Born in Collierville, Tenn., Major Owens earned a bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College, a master’s of library science from Atlanta University and honorary doctorates from Atlanta University and Gallaudet University. Owens began his career as a librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library. The only professional librarian elected to Congress, he began his career with the New York state senate in 1974 and went on to serve the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982 from New York’s 11th Congressional District.
Owens has been a member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, which guides all federal involvement in education, job training, labor law, employee safety and pensions, programs for the aging and people with disabilities and equal employment opportunities. He also served on the Committee on Government Reform and was ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee for Workforce Protections, chairman of the Subcommittee on Select Education and Civil Rights, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus Task Force on Haiti and a member of the Progressive Caucus of the House of Representatives. He was also one of the original sponsors and one of the strongest proponents of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Owens is now a distinguished visiting scholar in the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress. He began his residency at the Library after his retirement from Congress in January 2007.