Of the pioneer workers and scholars in the early days of Louisiana Negro Baptists, none have made a greater record nor enjoy wider distinction than does Bishop Albert Franklin Owens. He was born in Wilcox County, Ala., in 1859. Being deprived of early school advantages, he struggled upward as best he could until he finally made his way to Leland University, New Orleans, La. He was among Leland's first students, knowing personally Deacon Holbrook Chamberlain, the honored founder of Leland. No student stood higher, nor enjoyed the esteem and confidence of both teacher and students than did Brother Owens.
In the year of 1872, he was converted and baptized into the membership of the Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church, Atchafalaya, La. Elder Green Stemley baptized him. In 1873 he was notified of his call to the ministry and ordained by the Common Street Church, New Orleans, four years later. The following churches have been successfully pastored by him: Third Baptist and Union Baptist Churches, Mobile, Ala., and First Baptist Church, Uniontown, Ala. Before leaving Louisiana Dr. Owens was one of the most honored Louisiana Baptist State Convention Secretaries. This was during the Convention's infancy. Coming to Mobile he engaged in and did the well-done above mentioned church work. He also accomplished a deal of school work, having served with credit as principal of the Orange Grove School four years, taught in Mobile altogether twenty-five years. He distinguished himself as a preacher of charities years ago with the people of Mobile. He was made manager of City Charities and held that position thirty-three years.
In 1885 he edited the "Baptist Pioneer;" in 1892-93 he edited the "Alabama Baptist Leader." For many years he was a Trustee of Selma University. Dr. Booker T. Washington, learning of the work and worth of this great man, sought and secured his services as Dean of Phelps Bible School, Tuskegee Institute, Ala. He held this position a number of years to the satisfaction of Dr. Washington and to the delight of his many students and friends. Recently he resigned the work at Tuskegee and accepted a call to the Deanship of Bible School of Selma University, Selma, Ala., where he now makes good, rendering the institution yeoman service. His old school, Leland University, has recognized and acknowledged his ability by conferring upon him the degree of D. D.―Doctor of Divinity.
In 1908, he married Miss S. M. Pruitt, who has been to him a help-meet, indeed, and who today helps him in his great work.
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