New Film Honors the First Black Woman to Earn a Ph.D. at Duke University

Ida Stephens OwensIn 1967 Ida Stephens Owens received a Ph.D. in physiology from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. She was the first Black women to earn a Ph.D. at Duke. Dr. Owens was a summa cum laude graduate of what is now North Carolina Central University and she was recruited to enroll in the Duke Graduate School in 1962.

After earning her Ph.D. in 1976, Owens conducted postdoctoral research at the National Institutes of Health. She initiated a research program that is now recognized nationally and internationally for its studies on the genetics of human diseases. In 1981, this research program was extended and made into a permanent Section on Drug Biotransformation at the National Institutes of Health.

The story of Ida Owens at Duke is told in a new film entitled The Education of Ida Owens: Science, Civil Rights, and the Integration of Duke University.

The 34-minute film can be viewed below.

Related Articles


  1. Thank you for “The Education of Ida Owens….” I enrolled in the Duke University Graduate
    School in 1969 and subsequently earned a master’s degree. It is good to know one who
    opened the doors ahead of me. I appreciate her gift to all of us who followed her.

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Johns Hopkins University Launches New Major and Center for Critical Study of Racism, Immigration, and Colonialism

The new Chloe Center for the Critical Study of Racism, Immigration, and Colonialism will provide research opportunities and educational events for the Johns Hopkins University community. As part of the new program, the university has announced a new undergraduate major in critical diaspora studies.

Chicago Library Receives $2 Million to Digitize Collection of African American History and Literature

The Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection housed within the Chicago Public Library will soon be available online to the public thanks to a $2 million grant from the Mellon Foundation.

Online Articles That May Be of Interest to JBHE Readers

Each week, JBHE will provide links to online articles that may be of interest to our readers. Here are this week’s selections.

Recent Books of Interest to African American Scholars

The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education regularly publishes a list of new books that may be of interest to our readers. The books included are on a wide variety of subjects and present many different points of view.

Featured Jobs