Celebrate Black History Month

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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!

Through the Lens of Black Health & Wellness

The 2022 theme for Black History Month is "Through the Lens of Black Health & Wellness", This theme invites us to examine and celebrate of the lasting impact Black scholars and medical practitioners have had on the practice of Western medicine, to address racial disparities in healthcare, and encourage healing through education.

Biographies

This month, we'll be showcasing several Black Americans who are making history in many different ways. 

Abby PhillipAbby Phillip

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 PlattMichael Platt

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.


Dr. Robert T. FreemanDr. Robert T. Freeman

Robert Tanner Freeman was the first African-American to receive a degree in dentistry from an academic institution. Freeman was born around 1846 in Washington, D.C. He trained under Dr. Henry Bliss Noble, who encouraged him to formally train for a dental career. Freeman applied to two schools, and was rejected on racial grounds. He then applied to the Harvard Dental School after its founding, and in March of 1869, he was one of only six to receive the Doctor of Dental Medicine degree. After graduation, Tanner moved to Washington, D.C. and practiced dentistry until his death on June 14, 1873. The Washington Society of Colored Dentists, established in 1900, renamed itself in 1909 the Robert Tanner Freeman Dental Society in honor of America's first African-American dentist. Video





Dennis WeatherbyDennis Weatherby, PhD

Dennis Weatherby, PhD is a chemist, engineer and inventor.  He attended Central State University, an HBCU in Wilberforce, Ohio, where he graduated with a bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1982. From there he attended the University of Dayton where he completed a master's degree in chemical engineering in 1984. Soon after finishing his studies, Weatherby began working for Procter & Gamble  as a process engineer.

Weatherby led a team that developed a solution that employed a category of dyes that could be used in products containing bleach and, at the same time, would give the soap a lemon-yellow color that would not stain dishes. Before his invention, pigments were used in such solutions that often stained dishes and dishwasher interiors. With fellow inventor Brian J. Roselle, he received U.S. patent No. 4,714,562, issued on December 22, 1987, for his breakthrough "Automatic dishwasher detergent composition." The solution serves as the basic formula behind all of today's "lemon-scented" cleaning products containing bleach.


Marian CroakMarian Rogers Croak, PhD

Marian Rogers Croak is a graduate of Princeton University and the University of Southern California where she completed her doctoral studies in social psychology and quantitative analysis. She is the Vice President of Engineering at Google. She has previously served as Senior Vice President of Research and Development at AT&T where she led a team that worked on advancing voice over IP technologies, furthering the capabilities of audio and video conferencing.

She holds more than two hundred patents with Hossein Eslambolchi, including more than one hundred in relation to voice over IP (VoIP). She pioneered the use of phone network services to make it easy for the public to donate to crisis appeals. When AT&T partnered with American Idol to use a text message voting system, 22% of viewers learned to text to take part in the show. She filed the patent for text-based donations to charity in 2005. This capability revolutionized how people can donate money to charitable organizations, for example, after the 2010 Haiti earthquake at least $22 million was pledged using her technology. Dr. Croak also led the Domain 2.0 Architecture and managed more than 2,000 engineers.

Joe BlackJoe Black

Mr. Black, a baseball scholarship recipient, graduated from Morgan State College in 1950 and was called up to the majors in 1952. In that year, Mr. Black was chosen as the National League Rookie of The Year.

On October 1, 1952, the Dodgers were facing a pitching dilemma and Manager, Chuck Dressen brought Black of the bullpen and start him three times in seven days in the 1952 World Series against the New York Yankees. He pitched a 6-hitter to win the first game and became the first black pitcher to win a World Series game. Mr. Black led the Brooklyn Dodgers to a 4-2 win over the New York Yankees to become the first Black Pitcher to win a World Series Game. While he was with the Dodgers, Black roomed with Jackie Robinson and helped to fight for a pension plan for Negro League players. 

Following baseball, Mr. Black was an executive with Greyhound in Phoenix, AZ as well as a board director of the Baseball Assistance Team and worked for the Diamondbacks in community relations. 

He also received an honorary doctorate from Shaw University. Mr. Black enjoyed writing and held wrote a syndicated column, “By the Way,” for Ebony Magazine and an autobiography, “Ain’t Nobody Better than You,” in 1983. Mr. Black died May 17, 2002 and his biography, “Meet the Real Joe Black,” was published in 2010. In 2010, the Washington Nationals began to annually present the Joe Black Award to a Washington area organization chosen for its work promoting baseball in African American communities. The award recognizes Joseph Black as the first African American player on the Washington Senators.

Toni StoneToni Stone

Marcenia “Toni” Stone, overcame both gender and racial discrimination to become the first woman in history to play professional baseball as a regular in a men’s major baseball league. Stone was inducted into the Minnesota Sports Hall of Fame on February 9, 201.  Stone was born in 1921 in Bluefield, West Virginia during an era of pronounced racial segregation in American sports. At just 15, the all-male semi-pro Twin Cities Colored Giants broke gender convention by bringing Stone onto its roster. In 1946, Stone went to bat with the San Francisco Sea Lions, marking the start of her illustrious professional career.

Her exceptional batting average of .280 earned her a spot on the bench with the Negro League All-Star team while she continued to travel across the United States playing second base for the minor league New Orleans Creoles. In 1953, Stone filled the spot of future Hall-of-Famer Hank Aaron as the second baseman for the Indianapolis Clowns, one of the League’s most prestigious teams. Undeterred by taunts during her debut season with the Clowns, Stone hit a single off of Satchel Paige, who is widely considered the greatest pitcher in Negro League history. 

Stone played alongside legendary players such as Jackie Robinson throughout her career before retiring from professional baseball in 1954 as a legend. In 1990, March 6 was declared “Toni Stone Day” in her adopted hometown of St. Paul, where future generations of baseball players practice under the lights of Toni Stone Field. She has been honored by several exhibitions in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and in 1993, was inducted into the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame.

Recommended Books

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,

Adults

On Juneteenth

The Color of Law Opens in new window

Queenie Opens in new window

Patsy

Cant Touch my Hair Opens in new window

Well Read Black Girl Opens in new window

Teens

Not So Pure and Simple

Love is a Revolution

Dread Nation Opens in new window

The Black Kids Opens in new window

Hora de Brillar

The Poet X Opens in new window

Kids

African Icons

Brown Girl Dreaming Opens in new window


Black Brother Black Brother

A Good Kind of Trouble Opens in new window

Dream Big Little One

Swing Sisters

Black History Celebrations around the County