The remaining pages of Owens’s autobiography address his experiences as a professor at the college in Virginia and his work in vocational agriculture. While most of his handwriting in the previous pages is legible, unfortunately, the latter pages contain many proper nouns that are difficult to read and identify therefore they are not included here. Owens’s major accomplishments at Virginia State are summarized below.
With the passage of the National Vocational Educational Act in 1917, Owens’s duties expanded to include that of state teacher-trainer in education. Owens became a prominent leader in the development of agricultural education in secondary schools and colleges throughout the South. He played a leading role in founding the New Farmers of Virginia in 1927, and he was credited with writing the original constitution and bylaws of the organization. The chapter held its first meeting at Virginia State College. The Virginia chapter was the first of eighteen state organizations that became the New Farmers of America, consisting of African American farm boys studying vocational agriculture in the public schools. State representatives of the NFA formed the National Organization of New Farmers of America in 1935. The New Farmers of America merged with the Future Farmers of America in 1965 after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
During Owens’s educational career his activities and successes were documented in The Kansas Industrialist and The Students’ Herald, K-State newspapers. The Students’ Herald published a letter on May 17, 1900 in which Owens described Tuskegee and his activities. In the 1940s, several articles in The Industrialist detailed his successes at Virginia State College and in the field of vocational agriculture.
In recognition of his service to Virginia State College and vocational agriculture in the South, a new agricultural building at the school was named in his honor in 1932. (In 1963, the name Owens Hall was transferred to the new School of Agriculture building.) Owens retired as chairman of the Department of Agriculture in 1945; he passed away in 1950 at age 75. By recording the accounts of his life, education, career, and work with young African Americans, Owens leaves an important historical record within the pages of his autobiography.