Meet the New ESPER Board of Directors
Dr. Warachal E. Faison, President
Dr. Warachal Eileen Faison joined ESPER in 2014. Realizing the important role that ESPER plays in increasing awareness about philately and particularly Blacks on stamps, she immediately took the lead in becoming ESPER’s director of social media. Additional assignments within ESPER have been to assist the bylaws committee as well as coordinate past elections. Because she embraces diversity and women’s as well as health advocacy, it is not surprising that her stamp interests include Black Heritage, women, and health/medicine.
Professionally, Dr. Faison is a geriatric psychiatrist and Medical Director, Neuroscience and Pain, Pfizer, Inc. Prior to joining Pfizer in 2008, Dr. Faison was the Clinical Director, Alzheimer’s Research & Clinical Programs at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). An investigator on numerous Alzheimer’s disease research trials, her major areas of interest have included minority recruitment into clinical trials, risks and protective factors in the development of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as mood disorders. Dr. Faison has been recognized for her work as a health care provider, researcher, and community advocate in health disparities, minority recruitment into Alzheimer’s dis- ease clinical trials, women’s health issues, and mental health. She recently completed a global health fellowship in China for 3 months increasing awareness about diabetes, a growing epidemic in that country. A recipient of numerous honors and awards, Dr. Faison has been featured in the national media, including CNN, BET, and the Washington Post.
No matter what her role in the community—from her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. to the YWCA of Greater Charleston, Inc., where she served as President and on the Board of Directors respectively—she will engage in active dialogue concerning health disparities and beyond and is passionate about increasing the pipeline of ethnic minorities who attend college as well as those who pursue health careers.
Howard is from Hampton, Virginia, and has been a member of ESPER since 2013. He has collected stamps for over 25 years and for most of those years has concentrated on collecting Black Heritage stamps and African Americans on stamps. He also collects United Nations stamps and First Day Covers and worldwide stamps of famous people, such as the Commonwealth of Nations stamps that feature Queen Elizabeth II, the Royal Family, and other “celebrities” like Nelson Mandela, the Pope, and Michael Jackson.
Howard states, “I had seen the ESPER table at some of the shows I attended in Washington, D. C. and Virginia over the years but had not joined. Seven years ago, while attending a show in Williamsburg, Virgina, I met Bob Fields and Ricky Johnson, who were staffing the ESPER table. I joined ESPER at that show.”
My wife and I attended the ESPER 25th and 30th Anniversary Celebrations, and we had a great time. I met many of the ESPER members from across the U. S. who had a passion for the organization and for collecting Black Heritage and African Americans on stamps. Over the past several years, I have continued to attend stamp shows and now wear my ESPER shirts and spend time helping at the ESPER table if one is located at the show. I attended the World Philatelic Show in New York in 2016, the American Philatelic Society show in Richmond, Virginia, in 2017 and the American Philatelic Society/American Topical Association show in Columbus, Ohio, last year. ESPER had a table at each of those shows. I retired from my job two years ago. I now have more time to devote to my hobbies (stamp & coin collecting).
Walter is a true Tar Heel, having been born and bred in the great state of North Carolina. As a child, he collected stamps with his grandmother, a domestic at Camp Lejeune Marine Base in Jacksonville, North Carolina. The marines would correspond with my grandmother from their deployed countries using colorful postage, and the collecting began. Like a lot of kids, Walter moved on from collecting and returned as an adult when he received a gift of stamps from his wife. While further researching African Americans on stamps, Walter found Sanford L. Byrd and ESPER. Walter joined ESPER in 2000 and has been a faithful member.
Walter’s main collecting focus is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. worldwide. He also collects African Americans on U. S. stamps along with the Black Heritage series. He also works on a small collection of Muhammad Ali, Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, and Louis Armstrong stamps. Walter enjoys listening to jazz, visiting National Parks, and is on a quest to visit all fifty states with his wife, Desdemona. Walter and Desdemona have two lovely daughters, Keia (giraffes) and Iyana (turtles) who also collected as kids.
Walter is a member of the APS, ATA, and has served ESPER in multiple capacities, most recently as President and as ESPER’s APS liaison.
I am a retired Early Childhood Educator, who is a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and soon to be a great- great grandmother! As an educator, I have always been interested in African-American history. I became interested in African-American stamps after reading an article written by Mani Gilyard, and at his invitation, I attended the “To Form a More Perfect Union” stamp ceremony, and I became hooked. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that one could learn interesting facts from covers and their cachets.
Being a part of the ESPER family for 20 years has given me great pleasure. I have served as ESPER’s treasurer for several years and also have enjoyed creating the ESPER Store, a Stamp Guide for new members, a Stamp Topical Guide, a series of stamp activity booklets, the ESPER calendars, and show cards for several stamp shows and first-day ceremonies.
Dr. John W. Allen has been an ESPER member since 2001 and avid stamp collector since the age of twelve. He has collected many different countries and topics and in 1974, received his first exhibition medal at a World Series of Phi- lately (WSP) Stamp Show. Since then he has received over 27 Gold medals and many other medals at WSP shows as well as many International Show awards. In 1995, Dr. Allen became an APS certified, philatelic judge. He was the first Black American to become a judge and is the only one to this day. He has come to think of stamp collectors as armchair historians and as such are often able to provide a unique perspective to History. This is especially important to collectors of Black American History, a subject which traditionally has not been included in mainstream historical archives. Black Americans have built the greatest nation on earth and its important their story is told.
Dr. Allen is a retired university scientist, having served as a full time researcher on faculty at North Carolina A&T State University for over 25 years. His area of expertise is Infectious Disease and he has been a consultant for the CDC, NIH, USDA, NSF as well as many private companies involved in the fight against Infectious Disease. Dr. Allen has also served as a visiting Scientist at St. Mary’s Medical School, London and Oxford University, Oxford, England. Dr. Allen was also Chairman and CEO of Provagen, Inc., a Biotechnology enterprise created by NCATSU and the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.
Charlene has been an ESPER member since 2006, a stamp collector for 27 years, and is the founder and executive director of the National Museum of African Americans on Stamps (NMAAS, or thestampkeeper). It is a virtual and traveling museum dedicated to encouraging the hobby of stamp collecting, introducing others to African Americans on stamps and being a catalyst for courageous conversations. Charlene is an award -winning exhibitor (for “A Tribute to Black Heritage Stamps,” “African Americans in Music and on Stamps,” and “A Tribute to Marian Anderson”) and has won four bronze ribbons in stamp show competitions.
Charlene is a member of the American Philatelic Society, Illinois Chapter Director for the Ebony Society of Philatelic Events and Reflections (ESPER), and a member of the Association of African American Museums (AAAM). She has an article published on the Alliance of American Museums blog, was a recipient of the 2018 National Museum of African American History and Culture/AAAM scholarship, and has presented about ESPER and NMAAS have been made at local schools, libraries, women’s conferences, expos, and Facebook live.
Charlene has been an Administrative Professional for C-level executives for over 30 years. She currently is an Executive Assistant for Wells Fargo Bank where she has been for the last 10 years. She has a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from SIUE’s School of Business (1986), a Masters in Management from Walden University (2016), and is a Certified Administrative Professional (CAP).
Dr. Gregory Slaughter has been an ESPER member since 2009 and is serving his second term on the ESPER Board of Directors. He served as Vice President as well as Chair of the 2018 Bylaws Committee. He has presented several lectures on “How to Develop Postal Pictorial Postmarks.” In addition to Black Heritage, his topical interests include Space and Astronauts and Naval covers.
Dr. Slaughter is a veteran and had careers in law enforcement and as a college professor. He is married to his wife Brenda. They live in California.
(Each will serve a three-year term from January 1, 2019, through December 31, 2021. Please congratulate them and welcome them to their administrative positions.)
Howard Ingram, Vice President
Walter Faison, Secretary
M. Rosina Major, Treasurer
Dr. John Allen, Director-at-Large
Charlene Blair, Director-at-Large
Dr. Gregory Slaughter, Director-at-Large