Black History Month
In the United States and Canada, February is celebrated as Black History Month, a time to recognize and honor the contributions and achievements of African Americans and their role in U.S. history. Here at the City of Bowie, we're proud to celebrate Black History Month.
Keep scrolling for biographies, book recommendations, upcoming Black History Month events in Bowie and more!
The 2023 theme for Black History Month is "Resistance", This theme features historic Black figures who resisted the status quo by supporting black education, equity and civil rights movements.
View additional events and programs at the bottom of this page
This month, we'll be showcasing several Black Americans who are making history in many different ways.
Frances Tiafoe was born in Hyattsville, MD, the son of immigrants Frances Sr. and Alphina from Sierra Leone. He practiced at the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park. Frances and his twin brother Franklin began training there at the age of 5.
At 15 years old, Tiafoe won the Boys' 18s title at the 2013 Orange Bowl and became the youngest champion in the 67-year history of the tournament. Four months later, he took home the title at the 2014 Easter Bowl, and reached No. 2 in the ITF World Junior Rankings. He was the first American since John McEnroe in 1976 to win both the Orange Bowl and Easter Bowl 18s titles.
In February 2018, Tiafoe won his first professional title in Delray Beach, FL. Tiafoe reached his first Grand Slam quarterfinal last year with a run to the final eight at the Australian Open.
Dr. Patricia Bath
Patricia E. Bath, an ophthalmologist and laser scientist, was an innovative research scientist and advocate for blindness prevention, treatment, and cure. Her accomplishments include the invention of a new device and technique for cataract surgery known as laserphaco, the creation of a new discipline known as "community ophthalmology," and appointment as the first woman chair of ophthalmology in the United States, at Drew-UCLA in 1983.
Dr. Bath received her medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C., interned at Harlem Hospital from 1968 to 1969, and completed a fellowship in ophthalmology at Columbia University. Following her internship, Dr. Bath completed her training at New York University between 1970 and 1973, where she was the first African American resident in ophthalmology. Bath married and had a daughter Eraka, born 1972. While motherhood became her priority, she also managed to complete a fellowship in corneal transplantation and keratoprosthesis
Vice President Kamala Harris
In January 2021, Kamala Harris became the first woman and first woman of color to become vice president of the United States. Then-candidate, Joe Biden nominated Harris in August 2020 during the Democratic party’s national convention. Harris, whose mother immigrated to the United States from India and whose father immigrated from Jamaica, was the first person of African or Asian descent to become a major party’s vice-presidential candidate—and the first to win the office.
In her victory speech in November 2020, Harris said that she was thinking "about the generations of women, Black women, Asian, white, Latina, Native American women—who throughout our nation’s history have paved the way for this moment tonight—women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality and liberty and justice for all.”
Brown vs Board of Education
On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court delivered its verdict in Brown v. Board of Education, ruling unanimously that racial segregation in public schools violated the 14th Amendment’s mandate of equal protection of the laws of the U.S. Constitution to any person within its jurisdiction. Oliver Brown, the lead plaintiff in the case, was one of almost 200 people from five different states who had joined related NAACP cases brought before the Supreme Court since 1938.
The landmark verdict reversed the “separate but equal” doctrine the Court had established with Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), in which it determined that equal protection was not violated as long as reasonably equal conditions were provided to both groups. In the Brown decision, Chief Justice Earl Warren famously declared that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” Though the Court’s ruling applied specifically to public schools, it implied that other segregated facilities were also unconstitutional, thus striking a heavy blow to the Jim Crow South.
Abby Phillip is a CNN News correspondent and a Bowie native who graduated from Bowie High School in 2006 and Harvard University in 2010 with a B.A. in government. She joined the CNN team in 2017 where she primarily covered the White House.
She has also appeared on Washington Week and C-SPAN and has previously worked for The Washington Post and ABC.
In January 2021, she replaced John King as an anchor on the Sunday morning edition of Inside Politics. Abby Phillip was recently inducted as an Honorary Member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., an honor bestowed on only a handful of accomplished women.
Michael Platt is the teenage owner of Michaels Desserts and he is a Bowie native. Since his diagnosis with severe epilepsy at 10, Michael has been homeschooled by his mother, Danita.
With his activities restricted, he threw himself into baking. After his parents gave him Toms shoes, he discovered that firm’s one-for-one model of giving—and inspiration struck. In 2017, with his parents’ help, he founded Michaels Desserts. For every dessert sold, the bakery donates one to the homeless or hungry. Michael intentionally left the apostrophe out of his company’s name as a reminder that he’s baking for others, not himself.
Michael sells about 170 treats a month, mostly cupcakes, made in the family kitchen. He delivers to domestic violence shelters and transitional housing as well as to the homeless in McPherson Square in Washington, D.C. Flavors range from Spicy S’Mores to Vegan Mocha and cookies such as macarons.
But Michael is most invested in his monthly “Freedom Fighter” cupcakes, which honor such figures as abolitionist Harriet Tubman, whose cupcake is mint chocolate chip (her nickname was Minty), and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose cupcake has a sweet potato pie filling based on a traditional African-American dessert.
Michael also hosts bake sales for the nonprofit No Kid Hungry.
The Prince George's County Memorial Library System (PGCMLS) is also celebrating Black History Month with book recommendations for all ages. Here's a sneak peak of some of the educational and entertaining books they're is recommending for the month of February. Want to see the full list? Visit the PGCMLS Black History Month page for more books, online exhibits, and more,