Rev. Dr. Calvin Bowers
Dr. Calvin Bowers continues to educate with his latest book, “Ollie’s Kids: A Family’s Journey.”
By Brian W. Carter
Sentinel Staff Writer
Dr. Calvin Bowers is a man who has worn many hats-college professor and administrator, educator, speaker, minister, father and an author. Still in the ministry, which spans over 50 years, he has put on his author’s hat again with a book entitled, “Ollie’s Kids: A Family’s Journey,” which chronicles his family’s history and story.
Bowers is originally from Selmer, Tennessee, where he attended McNairy County High School. After he graduated in 1951, he attended Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy and Psychology with a heavy emphasis in ministry in 1955.
“I was a student preacher,” said Bowers. “To supplement my income, I worked in the foundry at night.”
He continued his education at Pepperdine University (PU), at that time located in Inglewood. There, he would earn two Master of Arts degrees in religious education and the other in speech communication in 1960 and 1972, respectively. Bowers later earned his doctorate of education degree in Higher Education and Administration at the University of Southern California in 1981.
He started his ministry at the Figueroa Church of Christ (FCC) in 1957, while he was attending PU. Bowers would work two years as Academic Dean of Southwestern Christian College in Terrell, Texas, after a short leave from FCC. He returned to PU as Dean of Ethnic Studies in 1969. While there, Bowers was pivotal in starting ethnic programs and classes.
“I worked a lot with youth,” said Bowers. “I was chairman of the National Youth Conference for 46 years.
“At Pepperdine, I was chairman of the Black Student Union… and I also developed an educational assistance [fund]-we probably helped 150 students.”
Bowers influential work at PU earned him the title of Professor Emeritus in 2004. He has also served on numerous boards and programs, been a speaker on the Hour of Truth TV program, taught many classes at various institutions and is a founding member of the Normandie Christian Elementary School.
It’s only natural that Bowers would write a book about something that would grab interest. In 2000, he wrote, “Realizing the California Dream,” which was about the survey history the Black Churches of Christ in Los Angeles. Now he has released a new book featuring the inspiring story of his family in “Ollie’s Kids: A Family’s Journey.”
“It’s a book about family… and I used my own family as a prototype,” said Bowers. “Ollie was my mother-she had nine children, poor people in Tennessee, in society, hard work, treating other people right and religion.
“This is a book dedicated, not only to my mother-but all the women like her.”
“Ollie Kids” is about drawing attention to the Black mother’s struggle and all she has endured through the eyes of Bower’s mother. It is, at its core, a book about appreciating the Black mother and about addressing legacy-our children. The book itself was brought to life by a series of surveys Bowers sent to his siblings, recollecting memories about their lives growing up.
“I hope people will find it an interesting read,” said Bowers. ” I hope children [will] read it and be inspired by it.”
“Ollie’s Kids: A Family’s Journey” is available where books are sold. You may also send $16.99, plus $4.00 shipping and handling to Dr. Calvin H. Bowers at 2136 West 82nd Street in Los Angeles, California 90047. You can contact by phone at (323) 753-2536.