The History of ESPER
Dr. Esper G. Hayes, Founder
The Ebony Society of Philatelic Events and Reflections (ESPER) was founded by Esper G. Hayes of Charlotte, North Carolina. She started the club based on a promise she made to the great Olympian, Jesse Owens. Esper met the famous track star at a stamp show in the '70s. She stood in line for hours to get his autograph. When she got to the table, he stood up and shook her hand. She and Jesse were the only African Americans at the stamp show that day. During their conversation, Jesse mentioned that maybe Esper could do something to help Black people take pride in themselves, and she agreed. After his death in 1980, Esper turned her promise into a commitment.
The Ebony Society of Philatelic Events and Reflections, whose initials spell our founder's name, was organized in 1988 and is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the collecting of stamps and philatelic material depicting people and events related to the African Diaspora and to encouraging and supporting the interest and participation of Black people in all aspects of philately. The Society currently has almost 300 members throughout the United States and in other countries. Reflections, our award-winning quarterly newsletter, contains information and commentary about people of the African Diaspora on philatelic material from around the world. Many members spend time visiting schools to share their knowledge with children. Others give presentations at stamp shows, local libraries, and civic centers to spread the hobby of philately and the history of African Americans. The organizational staff consists of the President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary, Financial Secretary, three Directors-at-Large, Chapter Directors, Liaisons to other philatelic organizations, and the Editor of Reflections, the Webmaster, and the Director of Social Media.
1) To promote and foster an interest in the collection of philatelic material depicting people and events of the African diaspora.
2) To introduce African Americans to the hobby of philately (stamp collecting) and to enhance their collecting experience; to encourage and support their interest and participation in all aspects of the hobby.
3) To help provide educational scholarships.
4) To promote Black history in local schools, libraries, and civic centers through stamp collecting.
5) To provide lectures and presentations at national and local philatelic events.
6) To help start youth philatelic clubs.
Earnest C Shinault, Sr. (1995-1998)
Manuel “Mani” Gilyard (1999-2011)
Walter Faison (2012-2016)