Mrs. Erma Scott Bridgewater was born on November 24, 1913 at the home of her paternal grandparents at 305 E. Tremont Street. She passed Tuesday, April 2, 2013. She is a 1937 graduate of the University of Illinois with a Bachelorʹs Degree in Sociology. She married Cecil Bridgewater of Tuscola, and raised three children: Cecil, Ron and Cassandra. She has 9 grandchildren and 2 great‐grandchildren. She was employed in 1939 as the Director of Douglass Center. She remained as Assistant Director and Director of Douglass Center until 1963. She later worked as a proof reader for the Courier Newspaper; an Outreach Worker at Frances Nelson Health Center; Relocation Officer for the Urban Renewal Program; and, Housing Specialist for the Community Development Program. She retired in 1984. She is a charter member of the local graduate chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and a charter member of the local chapter of the National Council of Negro Women. Mrs. Bridgewater has been a member of Bethel A.M.E. Church since age 12 and a member of the Bethel Choir for over 70 years.
Erma was featured in Difference Makers 2010: An eBlack Champaign-Urbana Publication.
Additional biographical information from The Black Women in the Middle West Project: A Comprehensive Resource Guide, Illinois and Indiana: Historical Essays, Oral Histories, Biographical Profiles and Document Collections:
Erma Bridgewater, nee Scott was born in Champaign on November 24, 1913. Bridgewater is the elder child of Sarah Pauline Scott, nee Wilson, a maid born at Shawneetown, Illinois on June 29,1892, and Raymond Mac Scott, a University of Illinois mail carrier born at Champaign in December 1892 (died 1959). She is married to Cecil Bernard Bridgewater, a retired upholsterer born at Tuscola, Illinois on November 23, 1910. They have three children and three grandchildren. She was graduated from the University of Illinois in 1937. She worked as the Assistant Director and Director of the Douglass Center from 1939 to 1964, as a Relocation Officer for the City of Champaign from 1967 to 1970, as a Community Worker for the Health Center from 1971 to 1975, and as a Housing Specialist for the City of Champaign from 1975 to 1982. Her honors include recognition as "Black Woman of the Year." She has been a member of Bethel AME Church in Champaign since 1925, where she has served in the choir and on the Trustee Board and the Planning Committee. Her affiliations have included AKA, PTA, OIC, Community Integration, Better Housing Committee, Urban League, Health Consumers, and the NCNW. "I have always been thankful that my employment has been in fields where I could help my own people," Bridgewater says: "In the day of the liberated woman, I am thankful that I managed to be a homemaker and pursue a career at the same time. Many black women of my era can attest to the fact that it can be done," she said in an interview in the early 1980s.
On May 7, 2013 the Champaign City Counsel voted to name a street after Mrs. Bridgewater.
Additional information on Mrs. Erma Scott Bridgewater and her legacy can be found at eBlackCU.