Esther Haywood: A woman worth honoring

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Friends of the NAACP St. Louis County Branch will be coming together for a reception in honor of Esther Haywood and president-elect John C.E. Gaskin, III.

The Honorable Esther Haywood will be recognized at the reception on Friday for her 35 years of service to the NAACP and the St. Louis region. Haywood is a lifetime member of NAACP. Under her leadership, the St. Louis County Branch experienced record-breaking success and membership.

“More than 100 leaders from the labor, business and civic community will come together to honor the 25 plus years of service that Esther Haywood has given to the NAACP in St. Louis County,” Gaskin said. “At this historic event, Haywood will officially be named President Emeritus of the St. Louis County NAACP.”

Haywood was born in Memphis, Tn. where she graduated from Barret’s Chapel High School. She then attended Lincoln University, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree from Mississippi Industrial College. Haywood also completed graduate studies at St. Louis University and Mississippi State University.

Prior to teaching math in East St. Louis Public School District 189 for 30 years, Haywood taught fourth grade in Marion, Ark., and in the Memphis Shelby County School District, where she was one of five African-American teachers to integrate into the public school district. Haywood also served for 18 years on the Normandy School District Board of Education.

Haywood spent 40 years being a civil rights and social justice advocate in her community. While serving in the Normandy School District, she worked to keep the District accredited and to recruit and retain quality teachers and administrators.

A former Democratic representative in the Missouri House of Representatives, Haywood was elected to represent part of the St. Louis County (D-71) in 2000 and served four terms.

Serving as a community leader, Haywood is a member of the Normandy Hospital Guild, a charter member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and a member of the St. Louis Links, Forest Park Forever.

“I am humbled to walk in the footsteps of a true civil rights and social justice advocate,” Gaskin said. “I am excited to be sworn in by U.S Federal Judge Hon. Ronnie L. White alongside my colleagues.”

Haywood is the recipient of many awards from organizations across the country over the course of her leadership and service to the St. Louis Region. Among her awards are Hill to Hill Award from Lincoln University; The Lifetime Achievement Award from AFT of District 189; NAACP National Youth Work Award; Legislator of the Year Award AT&T Missouri; Legislator of the Year Award University of Missouri, St. Louis; Unsung Heroine Award Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; Missionary of the Year Award University of Missouri, St. Louis; Women in Leadership Award for Civil Rights Urban League of Metro St. Louis; National Parent’s Day Council Parents of the Year Award and The Ambassadors of Peace Award from the Universal Peace Foundation.

Haywood currently lives in St. Louis County and was married to her husband, Edward J. Haywood for 55 years. She is a longtime member of Murchison Tabernacle CME Church and has two daughters, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.