Matthews to sign copies of new book

Published 6:01 am Wednesday, February 7, 2007

By Staff
special to the standard
The Rev. H.K. Matthews will be at the Brewton Public Library to sign copies of his new book, &#8220Victory After the Fall” on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2007 at 6 p.m.
In his memoir Matthews brings to life his compelling stories of the Florida civil rights battlegrounds of northwest Florida and beyond.
Written with Professor J. Michael Butler, &#8220Victory After the Fall” provides a fasinating journey into the civil rights battlegrounds of northwest Florida and beyond, but it is also a story of moral courage and personal redemption. Matthews tells how he lost everything as a result of his ceaseless campaign for human dignity. This book outlines the rise, fall and ultimate victory that a remarkable person endured because of his efforts to improve relations between his fellow men.
On Feb. 24, 1975, nearly 500 hundred men and women gathered at the Escambia County, Fla., sheriff's department in Pensacola to demonstrate against what they considered a grave injustice. Two months earlier, Deputy Douglas Raines shot and killed a young black man named Wendel Blackwell. Seventy night-stick wielding deputies moved into the crowd. They arrested 47 blacks on misdemeanor charges, including Matthews, but added felony extortion counts to the charges against him and another individual. The case went to trial four months later and an all-white jury found the two men guilty of the felony counts. Matthews was sentenced to five years in prison.
Among Matthews' activism, he participated in the first sit-in demonstrations in northwest Florida, led a campaign against the use of Confederate symbols at an area high school, and served time in state prison for a crime that never occurred. However, his memoir, &#8220Victory After the Fall” is much more than one man's account of his life experiences. It is a first-person narrativre of the challenges and opportunities black citizens encountered before, during, and after the 1960s struggle for racial equality.
Matthews is retired from public service and resides in Brewton. J. Michael Butler received his Ph.D from the University of Mississippi and is an assistant professor of history at South Georgia College.

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