Object Type: Record
In Collection: Oral History Digital Collection
Oral history.; Mr. Lee Owens, Jr. was born on May 7, 1921, in Natchez, Mississippi. As a child, Mr. Owens worked in a cotton field for half a day while attending school for half a day. Because his parents could not afford to send him to school, he stopped attending in the second grade and worked in the cotton fields full-time. In 1939, Mr. Owens went to work at Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and was drafted into military service based at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi. He survived major hurricanes in 1947 and in 1969. In the 1960s, Mr. Owens participated in some of the beach wade-ins along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, helping to desegregate those public beaches. Before the legalization of gambling and the development of casinos on the Gulf Coast waterfront, Mr. Owens recalls that there was illegal gambling along Main Street where many nightclubs lined the street.