Erma Scott Bridgewater

Bridgewater, Erma Scott

Erma Scott Bridgewater, a native of Champaign, was born on Tremont Street in the north part of the city in 1913. She was the daughter of Raymond Mac and Sarah Wilson Scott. She attended Champaign schools and was a 1937 graduate of the University of Illinois with a BA in Sociology. In 1939, the City of Champaign created the Department of Recreation to replace the W.P.A. programs, and she became Director of the program at Douglass Center. She remained in this position until 1963, and later worked in such roles as Proof Reader for the Courier Newspaper, Outreach Worker at Frances Nelson Health Center, Relocation Officer for the Urban Renewal Program, and Housing Specialist for the Community Development Program. 

After twenty-four years of employment with the City of Champaign, she retired in 1984. In 1991, she underwent a successful operation for breast cancer.

She has served on various boards and committees. She was a charter member of the local graduate chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and a charter member of the local chapter of National Council of Negro Women. She was a member of Bethel A.M.E. Church since age 12 and a member of the Bethel Choir for 70 years. Her main hobby was swimming, on average 30 laps five days a week. Her favorite Bible verse is "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

She was once honored with the recognition “Black Woman of the Year,” and was featured in Difference Makers 2010: An eBlack Champaign-Urbana Publication, a symposium that recognized over those who have worked to make a difference in Champaign-Urbana’s African American Community.

Mrs. Bridgewater married Cecil Bridgewater and together, they raised three children: Cecil, Ron, and Cassandra. She has 9 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.

Erma Scott Bridgewater passed away on April 2, 2013.