#LiftEVERYVoice: Betty Jean Owens

This week’s #ListEVERYvoice segment highlights Betty Jean Owens, an African American woman who was brutally raped by four white men in Tallahassee, Florida in 1959.

Betty’s History

On May 2, 1959, four African American students at Florida A & M were forced out of their car, at knife and gunpoint, by four white men. The two African American males were then forced to leave the two African American females, Betty Jean Owens and Edna Richardson, in the possession of the 4 white males. Edna Richardson was able to escape the white men and lose them in a nearby park, which left Betty Jean Owens alone with all four men; they took her to the edge of town and raped her seven times that night. The four men were arrested and subsequently confessed to the assaults and were eventually found guilty and sentenced to life in prison on June 15, 1959. This court case was monumental, as it was the first case in which white males were convicted of a rape of an African American woman.

 

A Letter to Betty

Sources:

http://atlantablackstar.com/2015/05/28/9-disturbing-facts-about-sexual-violence-against-our-women-under-jim-crow/3/

https://www.cla.purdue.edu/from-plessy-to-brown/activities/3662860.pdf

 

#LiftEVERYVoice is a movement created by STAR® to amplify the voices of survivors silenced by racial oppression.  We seek to uplift, support and empower survivors of color.

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