Victoria Earle Matthews (b. 1861 – d. 1907)

Victoria Earle Matthews (b. 1861 – d. 1907)

Born a slave in 1861 Georgia, Victoria Earle Matthews lived to be a journalist, suffragist, and civically involved individual. After emancipation, Matthews and her family moved to New York City – she first worked in domestic service but eventually began to work as a reporter for the Times, Herald, Sunday Mercury, and African American newspapers like the Boston Advocate and the New York Globe. Her writings focused on issues that newly emancipated African Americans faced. Matthew also founded the Women’s Loyal Union in 1892 where she was president along with Sarah Garnet and Maritcha Lyons who were first and second vice-president. While working with the Women’s Loyal Union, Matthews and club members worked to collect information about the lives of black people —sending out questionnaires to ministers and teachers in the south. Matthews also helped to found the National Federation of Afro-American Women in 1895. She was also integral to the establishment of the black women’s club magazine, Women’s Era. In 1899, she founded the White Rose Industrial Home for Working Class Negro Girls with Marticha Remond Lyons. Known as the White Rose Mission, the organization was a settlement house to provide young African American girls safe housing, education, and job skills. Volunteers at the mission were involved in the local community, providing classes for children and making home visits.

Additional Sources:

Black Past Short Biography:

Yale University Libraries Short Biography:

Virginia Commonwealth University Social Welfare History Project Short Biography:

Black Gotham Archive Short Biography:

Victoria Earle Matthew’s Short Stories by Kerstin Rudolph:

Time Magazine:

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