The longest-serving Black staffer in Congress, Herbert Bowman, has died at age 92. On October 25 in Maryland, Bowman passed due to health complications related to a recent heart surgery.
Bowman passed away while a resident at a North Bethesda rehabilitation facility. The congressman’s stepdaughter, LaUanah King-Cassell, told the Washington Post.
Fellow politician Senator Ben Cardin – who acts as the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released a statement to pay tribute to him. He said, “To remember the life of Bertie Bowman is to remember his integrity and steadfast dedication to public service. He imprinted himself on the work and lives of every member that had the privilege to serve on our Committee across both sides of the aisle, and did so with honor, decency, and kindness.”
Clinton continued, “Folks like Bertie don’t make the newspapers, and the American people usually will never know their names, but they work hard every day to get done all the things the people in the papers get credit for.”
Bowman’s work is extensive. Serving on the Foreign Relations Committee, Bowman has done work with President Barack Obama and has bore witness to some of the most significant moments in legal history, including watching the Brown v. Board of Education, the high tension tie of the Vietnam War, and even the Watergate scandal. He also served as a board member of the Federal Credit Union for nearly 50 years, becoming the most extended-serving board member. He was so influential that the credit union named a 2019 headquarters after him and designated Bowman as an emeritus board member.
The credit union’s president and CEO, Timothy L. Anderson, expressed, “Bowman was not simply a giant among men; he was a revered icon on Capitol Hill, the very conscience of the Credit Union, and, above all, an unwavering servant to his community.”
South Carolina-born Bowman was known for being a positive energy in the community. Former Massachusetts senator John Kerry gave his condolences to X and recalled Bowman’s “booming laugh” and genuine smile.
For 57 years – 57 years! – if you served on or appeared in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, you knew the big smile, the booming laugh, and the bear hug of Bertie Bowman. His title may have been “hearing coordinator” but it could’ve just as easily been “heart and… https://t.co/VW8RZxzBEr pic.twitter.com/MHWTRomkPd
— John Kerry (@JohnKerry) October 25, 2023