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Pensacola Civil Rights Activist Visits Central Gulf Coast Freedom School

Volunteers pose with Reverend Matthews Photo by Sarah McCarren
Volunteers pose with Reverend Matthews Photo by Sarah McCarren

Submitted by: Sarah Elizabeth McCarren, St. Christopher's, Pensacola

The scholars at the second annual Central Gulf Coast Freedom school, held this year at St Christopher's Episcopal Church in Pensacola, welcomed Reverend H.K (Hawethorne Konrad ) Matthews, a Pensacola-area civil rights leader in the 1970's-, to share stories with 30 elementary-school aged children from around Pensacola and Escambia County, Florida.

Matthews, who was born in Snow Hill , Alabama 93 years ago, is an ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church tradition. He now calls Brewton, Alabama, home.

Matthew's work in Pensacola resulted in the hiring of more African-Americans at Pensacola’s Sacred Heart Hospital, Southern Bell Telephone Company and the West Pensacola Bank. Matthews was jailed thirty-five times for his involvement with the Civil Rights Movement.

Reverend Matthews shared some wisdom with the scholars, Freedom School staff, and guests.

" Let nobody define you. You define yourself," Matthews said.

In 2006, the City of Pensacola dedicated a park in honor of Matthew's work.

A movie about his life and work is in production. The title will be "Hero in Our Eyes: The HK Matthews Story."


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