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Wed, 12.27.2023

Bertie Bowman, Public Policy Administrator born.

*Bertie Bowman was born on this date in 1931. He was a Black federal congressional staffer.

Herbert 'Bertie' Bowman was born to sharecroppers Mary Ragin and Robert Bowman in Summerton, South Carolina. His mother died, and his father soon remarried. Bowman had twelve siblings in a house with no plumbing. Career After meeting with U.S. Senator Burnet R. Maybank, who was campaigning for reelection, he moved to Washington, D.C.  Maybank hired Bowman to sweep the U.S. Capitol steps. He began working at the U.S. Capitol in 1944 at 13.

He graduated from Roosevelt High School in the late 1940s, and Bowman was drafted into the U.S. Army. He later worked in the coffee shop before becoming a janitor, cook, and shoeshine for U.S. senators. In the mid-1950s, Bowman worked in the Capitol's barbershop. In 1966, he was a clerk on the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations (FRC). A year later, Bill Clinton worked for Bowman when he was a messenger for the FRC. U.S. senator Strom Thurmond assisted Bowman in enrolling at Howard University, where he studied business for two years. At the time of his retirement in 1990, he was the assistant hearing coordinator of the FRC.

After his retirement, Bowman continued working as a consultant for the FRC. He also took over his father-in-law's limousine business. In 2000, U.S. Senator Jesse Helms recruited him to return to the FRC as the hearing coordinator. He served in this position until he was 90 and continued working as a staffer until his death. Bowman served as the hearing coordinator of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations from 2000 to 2021 and was a U.S. Senate Federal Credit Union board member for 46 years, including two terms as chairman.

In May 2019, the credit union named its headquarters after Bowman. In 2020, he was inducted into the African American Credit Union Hall of Fame. He was married and later divorced. His second wife, Elaine King, died in 2009. He had a stepdaughter and four children. Bertie Bowman died from complications of heart surgery at a rehabilitation facility on October 25, 2023, at the age of 92.

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