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Celebrate 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,
Black History Month Programs
Bowie Senior Center
14900 Health Center Drive
- Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Friday, February 3, 10 a.m.
- This program will honor the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a PowerPoint presentation and discussion. Join us as we reflect and remember the life of this great American. For Seniors 55+.
- Musicians Who Changed Music Forever, February 10, 10 a.m.
- The music industry has been touched by some remarkable singer-songwriters and performers over the years. Come join us for a presentation, listen, and discuss your memories of musicians such as Prince, James Brown, Aretha Franklin and many more black artists who have altered the course of music. For Seniors 55+.
12207 Tulip Grove Drive
- The Buffalo Soldiers: Men of Valor, February 11, 2 p.m.
- In 1866, six all-Black cavalry and infantry regiments were created after Congress passed the Army Organization Act. Their main tasks were to help control the Native Americans of the Plains, capture cattle rustlers and thieves and protect settlers, stagecoaches, wagon trains, and railroad crews along the Western front. Their dedication, bravery, and impact were unparalleled. Join us at Belair Mansion to hear their remarkable stories. Free. No reservations are required.
6300 Crain Highway (in Whitemarsh Park)
- "Crowns", Performances are February 10 - 25
- A moving and celebratory musical play in which hats become a springboard for an exploration of black history and identity as seen through the eyes of a young black woman who has come down South to stay with her aunt after her brother is killed in Brooklyn. Hats are everywhere, in exquisite variety, and the characters use hats to tell stories concerning everything from the etiquette of hats to their historical and contemporary social functioning. There is a hat for every occasion, from flirting to churchgoing to funerals to baptisms, and the tradition of hats is traced back to African rituals and slavery and forward to the New Testament and current fashion. The conclusion finds the standoffish young woman, whose cultural identity as a young black Brooklyn woman has been so at odds with the more traditional and older Southern blacks, embracing hats and their cultural significance as a part of her own fiercely independent identity.
Barnes & Noble at Bowie Town Center
15455 Emerald Way
- Black History Month Book Talk February 25, 2023 at 1 p.m.
- Join the City of Bowie Diversity Committee and the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights to discuss the book, The Love Jones Cohort: Single and Living Alone in the Black Middle Class by Bowie resident, Dr. Kris Marsh. Dr. Marsh is a professor at the University of Maryland. Dr. Marsh’s general areas of expertise are the Black middle class, demography, racial residential segregation, and education. She has combined these interests to develop a research agenda that is divided into two broad areas: avenues into the Black middle class and consequences of being in the Black middle class.
Bowie Branch Library
15210 Annapolis Road
- Grown-Up Storytime: Celebrating Black LGBTQ+ Authors! February 7, 2023 at 6:30 p.m.
- Storytime doesn’t end when you’re no longer a kid! Come enjoy an adult version of storytime and discuss short excerpts from Black LGBTQ+ authors including June Jordan, James Baldwin, and George M. Johnson. You can also bring your own favorite author that you have interest in to discuss! You must register for this event.
- Blackout! February 8, 2023 at 4 p.m.
- Celebrate the success of "Blackout," the collaborative effort of six Black, women authors. With its focus on proudly showcasing Black love in all its forms, and an upcoming Netflix film and TV series, this pivotal novel has been cemented as its own piece of contemporary Black History. You must register for this event.
Other Celebrations and Exhibits
- Prince George's County Black History Month Celebration 2023.
- M-NCPPC, Department of Parks and Recreation Black History Month events page
- View the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture online collection.
There are no published events in current month.