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Carter Bowman

Church historian and graphic arts teacher Carter Bowman, Jr. was born on February 28, 1922 in Washington, D.C. to Eudora McDaniel and Carter Bowman, Sr. His mother was a homemaker while his father was a sanitation worker in Washington, D.C. Bowman was raised in the Georgetown area where his family attended Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, one of the oldest African American churches in Washington, D.C. In 1939, Bowman earned his high school diploma in printing from Armstrong Technical School where he was a member of the Reserved Officers' Training Corps (ROTC). He also played on the basketball and football teams. Bowman earned his B.S. degree in graphics arts from Tuskegee Institute in Alabama in 1944 and his M.Ed. from the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania in 1974.

During World War II, he worked as a clerk for the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C. In 1946, Bowman began his teaching career in printing at Brown Junior High School in Washington, D.C. Between 1948 and 1952, he took a brief hiatus from teaching and worked for Metro Printing, an African American-owned publishing company. Metro struggled to make a profit because they could not attract major clients due to the exclusion of African Americans from the printers' union. As a result, in 1952, Bowman returned to the Washington, D.C. public school system where he taught printing and graphic arts until retiring in 1982.

After his retirement, Bowman became the historian and archivist for Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, which was on the National Register of Historical Places, and helped the church receive several grants to preserve their records, which date to the 1830s. Bowman was an active member of numerous civic and historical organizations, including the Washington-Tuskegee Alumni Club, the Montgomery County Historical Society, and the Washington, D.C. Genealogical Society.

Bowman passed away on September 16, 2014 at age 92.

Accession Number

A2004.255

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/10/2004

Last Name

Bowman

Marital Status

Married

Schools

Wendell Phillips School

Francis Junior High School

Armstrong Technical School

Tuskegee University

University of Pittsburgh

First Name

Carter

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

BOW05

Favorite Season

Fall

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

If You Live The Life, You Pay The Price.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

2/28/1922

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Death Date

9/16/2014

Short Description

Graphic arts teacher and church historian Carter Bowman (1922 - 2014 ) was the historian for Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, one of the oldest African American churches in Washington, D.C. He taught graphic arts in the Washington, D.C. public school system for more than thirty-five years.

Employment

United States Department of Commerce

District of Columbia Public Schools

Metro Printing

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Carter Bowman's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Carter Bowman lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Carter Bowman describes his maternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Carter Bowman talks about his father

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Carter Bowman describes his paternal family history, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Carter Bowman describes his paternal family history, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Carter Bowman describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Carter Bowman remembers childhood activities in Georgetown, Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Carter Bowman lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Carter Bowman describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Carter Bowman remembers attending Wendell Phillips School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Carter Bowman describes growing up with his five sisters

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Carter Bowman talks about his time at Francis Junior High School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Carter Bowman remembers his initial interest in printing as a young student

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Carter Bowman describes athletics at Francis Junior High School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Carter Bowman talks about attending Mount Zion United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Carter Bowman tells the history of Mount Zion United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Carter Bowman describes the 1880 construction of the new Mount Zion United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Carter Bowman describes changes in Georgetown and at Mount Zion United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Carter Bowman talks about the effects of the Depression during his youth

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Carter Bowman talks about playing football at Samuel Chapman Armstrong Technical High School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Carter Bowman remembers his decision to attend Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Carter Bowman talks about his experience at Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Carter Bowman remembers the community at Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Carter Bowman remembers George Washington Carver at Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Carter Bowman talks about the philosophy and activities at Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in Tuskegee Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Carter Bowman describes working at Metro, a printing company in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Carter Bowman describes teaching with and fishing with coworkers at Garnet-Patterson Junior High School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Carter Bowman talks about developments in printing technology and its impact on teaching the subject

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Carter Bowman describes the advantages of learning printing

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Carter Bowman talks about what he has learned as historian and archivist for Mount Zion United Methodist Church, Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Carter Bowman talks about the importance of history

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Carter Bowman reflects upon his life

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Carter Bowman describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Carter Bowman relates the message he would like to leave his children and grandchildren

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Carter Bowman narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

6$4

DATitle
Carter Bowman remembers the community at Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama
Carter Bowman describes the advantages of learning printing
Transcript
And when you graduated from Tuskegee [Normal and Industrial Institute; Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Alabama], what were you planning to do?$$I came back here to Washington [D.C.] and I planned to, to get a job working in, in, in the graphic arts industry, but that changed. But before I got back to Tuskegee, the reason why I said I enjoyed myself, I was reading something the other day my niece wants to do something on she asked me about the Harlem Renaissance and, and her mother said, "Were any women in Harlem Renaissance?" I said, "Yes, there was Zora Neale Hurston." And so I did some research or I have a book on, on African encyclopedia put out by [HistoryMaker Henry Louis "Skip"] Gates [Jr.] ['Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience'] and I looked up Zora Neale Hurston and also we got a book called Legacy and one of the [American] Legacy Magazine they had a article on Zora Neale Hurston and Zora Neale Hurston went back to Florida and she said, "Hey we went back to Florida, New York is all right, but you always looking under being inspected by glass. Livin' in Harlem [New York, New York] people looking at you, looking at you but you went down to Florida you didn't have that. You were in a kind of closed society. If you vehicle washed and the conditions in the United States when you went to Tuskegee you were in utopia." You were everything, no--as the boys said, "No sweat." You could do almost anything you wanted to because of the influence of the school. So it was just--it was a different atmosphere altogether. And so I went to, I went to the football game, I mean I played football, had graphic arts and I didn't make the first team. I was on the squad, I made squad every year, but had a fella from Houston, Texas called Hike Hollins [ph.] and Hike was an excellent football player. And when he left, he said, "You know you'd be a good football player if you ever had a girlfriend," which I didn't have one at that time. So my next year 1941, somebody told me I had a classmate here from my city mate from Washington, D.C. so one Sunday, on Sundays we kind of dressed up. In front of the library, I met this young lady by the name of Maimie Lou Johnson in 1941, so much. She had just finished, incidentally, [Samuel Chapman] Armstrong [Technical] High School [Armstrong Manual Training School, Washington, D.C.] here in Washington, I hadn't never seen her before in my life and we met and we been together ever since. I married her and there she's been a great influence on me. But this was--and then not only that it was [Lee] Shore [ph.], Shore was there. Shore finished school, he finally finished school. He, he's not living now. He, he got hooked up with something but he would never let us know what it was but he was an excellent, he was excellent athlete. He never did reach his potential because he always stayed in trouble so he was always into something. But he was, he--but one of the things he would never, never always looked out for me. Whatever he was doing, he would never let me get involved in it. But he was a--and then at Tuskegee I had a chance to meet so many friends. When I first got there, one of my roommates was Chappie James [General Daniel James, Jr.]. Chappie went on got air, [U.S.] Air Force pilot. Went in the Air Force and got to be brigadier general, four star general.$How beneficial did you think it was for young people to learn this type of trade and this type of skill?$$Very beneficial. First of all it took some patience. Began to learn, had young people who never could have application of you know reading and, and the math. Why we have to learn the math? Why do you have to learn how to change a picas to inches, inches to picas and what not because printing used a different measurement than inch and just a learning art work, different colors you know why you have the--why you use yellow, why did I have this yellow sweater on instead of a red, why is one cold you know. Why blue is cold or why green is a cool color. And you begin, you begin to teach all these aspects of it and then you'll be surprised because you had, what we call because you go individual characters, they had a place they call the California job case where the A's were in the box and the Bs and the Cs and Ds you'd be surprised at people coming on element-and in schools didn't know the alphabet, and find out you know where you for--I think I read the funny papers. I still read the funny papers now. And one of the funny papers they have a character called B.C. comes in every now and then. And B.C. every now and then writes something on stone and he might spell the word and use a J instead of a U like in June or, or because at one time there were only twenty-four letters in the alphabet and the letter J and U were not included. So you go back and look at old printing you look at it and you see a V there and you might see the V, the V is in place of the J I mean the V is in place of the U.$$And what would replace the J?$$I--if you take Latin you'll find that out see. And so you begin to, to--and so know and so when you do the alphabet teaching them and you go to alphabet especially in capital letters, you are--you go all these letters and you get down to what is it J and U they, they the last two letters in the alphabet because they were added. And so you go under the sequence. Also I look every now and then I don't look at it now but you look at it, it comes on radio I mean on television spinning the wheel. What's the name?$$'Wheel of Fortune'?$$'Wheel of Fortune' and they always tell you about these different letters. In the California job case they have letters arranged that where you stood is almost like in the type where the certain letters are in a certain place and because you can get to them easily. So that when they ask you about what letters you want that beside the vowels, R is always a lot a T is always used and H because you know the E, you have the S now you have letters like J, K in the alphabet so in this case they were already out the way and the small containers and you begin to look at little things.$$Um-hm.$$And boys who were grew up and then we used to in class in conjunction with the English teacher you would have projects where they would print. Okay.$$So it just taught them a variety of different skills?$$Right. Okay.$$Yeah.$$But then anything now I look at work now and things that have changed now. The computer is good but it has spoiled all of the things that I knew about the theory of putting ink on paper. The margins are different now. People will write anything and because they call because the computer and I look at it and I said this is terrible.$$Do you use the computer?$$Yes. I have a email. You see it's on there.$$(Laughter).$$And you can't do without it now. Yes it's very, very important.$$But there were a lot of good skills other than just printing (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yes uh-huh.$$--that kids learned from learning how to print?$$Yes, uh-huh.$$Yeah.