Interview, Louise Owens

April 11, 1980

Louise Owens was born in Youngstown, Ohio, and came to Rochester, New York, as a child in the 1930s. She attended #4 School and was taught by Bessie Walls, Rochester’s first black teacher. Owens and her siblings were sent to a private school in Wisconsin, but she returned to Rochester to finish her high school education. During and after high school, she worked as a bookkeeper for her mother’s seamstress business. Later, Owens took classes at Eastman Dental School while she worked at Bausch and Lomb. She graduated from dental school and took a federal job at a clinic in Columbus, Georgia. Returning once again to Rochester, Owens found work as nurse’s aid at Strong Hospital and State Hospital.

In this interview, Owens discusses being the only black student at dental school, her frustration with segregation when she lived in the south, and her love of Rochester’s cultural life.

Content Tags


  • 1930s
  • 1940s
  • 1950s
  • 1960s
  • 1970s
  • 1980s