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Alumni Spotlight: Bridgett M. Davis

-Graduate of Cass Technical High School - Class of 1978

-Current Occupation: Author & Professor Emerita, Baruch College and the CUNY Graduate Center

Even when Bridgett M. Davis was a student at Hampton Junior High School, attending Cass Tech was always the goal for her growing up on the city’s West side. The author shared that for her and her best friend & cousins, “It was the one on our radar”! She had always excelled in her academics and during that time your score on the California Achievement Test (The C.A.T) was used to determine if you would gain acceptance into the examination-entry premiere school located then in the Cass Corridor! Bridgett got accepted into her dream school and saved the letter of acceptance for decades as a ‘source of achievement’ in life.

All Over The Country… Cass Tech Is #1, Second To None

Bridgett’s tenure at Cass Tech in the 1970’s could best be described by her late mom as “that girl acts like Cass can’t function if she misses a day of school”. She absolutely LOVED being a student there and says she still represents Cass Tech all the time even after graduating over 46 years ago in 1978.

“I mean it is unique in that it's one of the few high schools that people all over the country know about. It's a strange thing, but it is the case. I always stand up a little taller when people say you're from Detroit…did you go to Cass? I quickly answer with pride… yes I did!”

Black History Was Not Just Taught In February in DPS

Before Bridgett could climb the stairs at Cass Tech in 1975, she received a history lesson that is now causing controversy in school systems across our country since New York Times Magazine reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones released “The 1619 Project”. She shared that while attending Summer school ‘for fun’ at her neighborhood school Mumford right before starting Cass Tech, her teacher assigned them to read, “Before The Mayflower: A History of The Negro in America” by Lerone Bennett Jr. It was her first time learning about the year 1619 and its significance in history.

How These Two Teachers Led Bridgett M. Davis On The “Write” Path!

Bridgett wrote for the school newspaper at Cass and was assigned to write a story on the school’s Christmas dance performance called, “Light Frost’ by her newspaper advisor, Miss Chapman. After turning in her story, Miss Chapman made her rewrite it so many times. “I can vividly remember her saying, do it again– and I was upset about it but I did it!” Miss Chapman submitted the story to a statewide Journalism competition and it won! “That win was so transformative for me, because suddenly it meant wow, maybe I could do this with my life and I was a journalist for many years. I really believe and know for sure that Miss Chapman making me write that article over and over again was highly influential.”

Bridgett also had another young teacher named Miss Northern for English class.
One day she just decided to do a whole section on the Harlem Renaissance. I was like, what's that? And I really believe again, looking back, that might have influenced my decision to live in New York one day and pursue, like, a life as a writer.

Although Bridgett never got a chance to personally thank either of her teachers in person, the biggest compliment to them has been living the life they heavily influenced. Bridgett not only graduated from Spelman College and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She is now Professor Emerita in the Department of Journalism and the Writing Professions at Baruch College and the CUNY Graduate Center, where she taught creative, narrative and film writing for many years to other eager students like she once was as a Performance Arts/Media major at Cass Tech!

Bridgett M. Davis' late mom Fannie Davis was on to something when she joked how important walking the halls of Cass Tech daily was to her youngest daughter. It was in those classrooms and hallways that Bridgett M. Davis developed the passion & discipline for writing that years later would land the author a movie deal with Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B Entertainment & Searchlight Pictures to adapt 'The World According to Fannie Davis: My Mother’s Life in the Detroit Numbers’.

DPS is definitely proud of the author whose memoir in honor of her late mom is a New York Times Editors’ Choice, writings have been published in The New York Times, Real Simple, the LA Times and O, the Oprah Magazine, and her book, “The World According to Fannie Davis” was most recently featured as a clue on the quiz show Jeopardy!