In 1944, Bertie Bowman, a poor 13-year-old kid living in South Carolina, decided to run away from home and pursue a career working on Capitol Hill. What began as a part-time job sweeping the Capitol Hill steps, has turned into an extraordinary 60-plus-year career in Washington that now includes his position as the hearing coordinator for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

This is an extraordinary story about abou treating people right and being good can breakdown barriers and end in the American dream. When Bertie came to Washington, he had very little and no place to stay. Senator Maybank, whom Bertie met once back in South Carolina, took Bertie under his wing and paid his salary of $2 a week. The head custodian at Capital Hill, Mickey, also mentored Bertie and made sure he was protected on a day to day basis. Step by step, Bertie learned the ways of Washington and the power of politics.


Bertie Bowman has served as hearing coordinator for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee since 2000, when the executive appointment of then committee chairman Jesse Helms brought him back to the Senate after a ten-year hiatus. Before his retirement in 1990, Bertie Bowman had worked for the Foreign Relations Committee for twenty-five years, first as committee clerk and then as assistant hearing coordinator. He owns and operates Bertie’s Limousine Service, a chauffeur company that provides services for Washington VIPs, foreign diplomats, and others in and around the metropolitan D.C. area. Bowman is an elected member of the board of directors of the Senate Federal Credit Union, a member of the D.C. Board of Funeral Directors, and active in many community volunteer organizations.


This is the story of loyalty and persistence during a time where someone of Bertie’s color had no shot of becoming a success. His is a story of bravery and courage. One that finally will be told.

EMMY® Award Winning - PLAYING FOR THE MOB - ESPN 30 for 30 Series

PLAYING FOR THE MOB is the stuff of Hollywood legend, real life mobsters convincing a couple of college kids to beat the system and make some quick bucks. It’s the true story  of the Boston College point shaving scandal that was referenced in the iconic Martin Scorsese mob movie “Goodfellas.” Some called the fix “fail proof” and others referred to it as the direct opposite, “broken”. But one thing can’t be argued, the scam forever changed the lives of all those involved. The real story has never been told on camera by its participants until now.


Directed by Joe Lavine & Cayman Grant 

Produced by Triple Threat TV, Trenton Makes Productions & Steel Titan Productions

Network: ESPN -- As part of their critically acclaimed 30 for 30 Series







Listen to a Bertie Bowman Interview on NPR