Jacqueline Slaughter Haywood
Professor of History
Jacqueline Haywood was a member of the History Department at UCR from 1969 to 1989. A graduate of Talladega College in Talladega, Alabama, she earlier taught math and science at all-black high schools in Missouri, Virginia, Louisiana, and Arkansas. Talladega was emblematic of the black college at its best in training the model young black professional woman to teach in the public school system of the South, which was segregated from kindergarten to the baccalaureate and beyond. As a young teacher, Haywood’s superbly modulated voice reflected her even temperament and disciplined, almost serene control. Placing greater demands on herself, she went on to graduate school to secure a master’s degree in history from Wisconsin and her doctorate in history from UCLA.
Haywood arrived at UCR when calls for the admission of black students, the hiring of black professors, and the establishment of Black Studies departments and programs were being heard in American higher education. Since such objectives were sought at a time when the history and culture of blacks were treated little better than blacks were treated in American life, the atmosphere was charged with a certain tension. Nevertheless, the success of the Civil Rights movement in bringing an end to de jure racial segregation and the denial of voting rights helped create conditions more conducive to the reconfiguring of scholarship on blacks and their relationship to American life and culture. Universities such as Harvard, Yale and Cornell took the lead in establishing Black Studies departments and programs with others, UCR among them, following suit.
Trained at leading universities, Jacqueline Haywood was in many ways ideally suited to answer the call for more black professors. With so few of them at UCR, almost from the start, Haywood, superb in skill and dedication, not only drew students to her classes but to her home, where her husband, Abe Haywood, joined her in helping to provide a home away from home for black students who were feeling a degree of social isolation at the university. He reports having returned home from Los Angeles as late as nine some evenings to find the house “full of students.” The demands of this particular form of in loco parentis fell heavily upon the shoulders of the Haywoods. But as Jackie sat quietly smiling, Abe is known to have spoken with pride of the extra measure of support she provided students, always with concern for them as individuals, always challenging them to work hard.
The respect that Haywood won was confined to no single constituency of students. Shortly before her retirement, one of her students wrote: “Dr. Haywood is a great professor, and I have enjoyed her style thoroughly. Her manner is pleasant and I feel I have received maximum benefits from taking this class.” Another remarked: “I loved this course. No other course on campus demonstrates that black women were important. Very patient and willing to spend time with students, Dr. Haywood is an excellent professor.” And yet another student, a twenty-year veteran of the Marine Corps, remarked: “When I first entered Professor Haywood’s classroom in September of 1976, I harbored some grave misgivings as to what might lie in store for me. My fears were most unfounded. I was openly welcomed by Professor Haywood as one might greet an old friend. There have never been any color barriers in the classroom, although the unpleasant nature of the material covered in the syllabus might lend itself to anti-white attitudes in other than an academic environment. I cannot overrate Professor Haywood’s professional competence. Her demonstrated performance commands high marks in all areas. Although I am not one to stand in awe of any person, I must admit in all humility that such is the case here.”
Haywood was chair of the Black Studies Department from 1979 to 1982 and served on committees ranging from the History Department’s Educational Policy Committee to the Academic Senate’s Charges Committee. She reviewed manuscripts for the Journal of Social and Behavioral Sciences and was an Associate Editor of that journal. Together with Fowler, Levy and Blassingame, she authored In Search of America, which Holt, Rinehart and Winston published in two volumes in 1972. In 1977 and1978, Haywood was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute and was for years a Danforth Associate.
After retirement, Professor Haywood traveled to Los Angeles twice a week to visit two aunts, both of whom were well into their nineties. She exhibited the same initiative and humanity in her family, and in the community, that distinguished her twenty years as a faculty member at UCR.