Bill Owens


Early Life

Owens was born in Demopolis, Alabama, on July 6, 1937. He went to the English High School of Boston. Owens also attended Boston University, Harvard University and University of Massachusetts Amherst. Owens was a private consultant and lived in Mattapan, Boston, Massachusetts.


was the first African American man elected to the Massachusetts Senate. Senator Owens’s achievements include the creation of the State Office of Minority Business Assistance, Summer Youth Jobs Program, securement of the appropriation for construction of Roxbury Community College, and passage of the Assault Weapons Ban.

While the history of Black legislators in the Commonwealth continues to evolve, there is simply not enough room on this web page to highlight each official and their remarkable stories and achievements, so we hope that this web page offers a portal into the history of African Americans on Beacon Hill with the help of the State Library’s resources. Owens served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1973 to 1975 as a Democrat.


  • Born July 6, 1937

  • an American politician and businessman

  • was the first African American man elected to the Massachusetts Senate

  • Died January 22, 2022, Boston, Massachusetts

Thank you to the New York Tristate Owner and Operators Association for your continued support of the Black Community.
All featured faces of Black History are not captured in the 2023 theatre production.

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