17 Facts About Connie Matthews


Constance Evadine Matthews, better known as Connie Matthews, was an organizer, a part of the Black Panther Party between 1968 and 1971.


Connie Matthews first became involved with the Panthers in 1968.


In May 1969, Connie Matthews was officially designated by the Panthers as their "International Coordinator", and was "authorised to mobilise to carry out demonstrations of support, raise funds, and inform the peoples of Scandinavia about poor black and oppressed peoples' revolutionary struggle from the Panthers' vanguard position".


In early 1969, Connie Matthews organised a tour of Black Panther Party leaders Bobby Seale and Raymond Hewitt around Northern Europe, with the goal being to network with left-wing European political groups and raise funds for the "Free Huey" campaign, which sought to see Huey Newton released from prison.


The tour was considered a success and Connie Matthews was commended by the Panthers' central committee for her work, leading her to become more involved with the party.


Connie Matthews continued to build a base of support for the Panthers in Europe.


Connie Matthews was responsible for recruiting French Intellectual Jean Genet, persuading him to travel to the United States for an extended tour where he took part in the "Free Huey" campaign.

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In February 1970 Connie Matthews was a part of a tour of the United Kingdom, intended to strengthen bonds between the Black Panther Party and the Black Power Movement growing in Britain at the time.


Derek Humphry, a journalist reporting on the speech for The Sunday Times, ran with the headline "Sister Connie Matthews swears at British Black Panthers", summarising how the speech was received.


Connie Matthews began to make visits to the United States as well as writing articles for The Black Panther, the Panthers' official newspaper.


The Jewish Telegraph Agency accused Connie Matthews of labelling the Judge a "Zionist", and of thinking of all Jews as Zionists.


Connie Matthews eventually rose through the Panther ranks to become the personal secretary of party leader Huey Newton.


English claims in order to protect Matthews from being deported from the US, he ordered Black Panther member Michael Tabor to marry Connie.


Connie Matthews was denounced as well, and accusing of fleeing the Party and taking valuable assets with her.


Moore, Tabor and Connie Matthews all resurfaced a month later in Algeria, where Black Panther Party leaders Eldridge and Kathleen Cleaver had previously fled to after Eldridge escaped a trial.


The Algerian-based panthers all eventually went their separate ways and in 1972 Tabor and Connie Matthews immigrated to Zambia.


Connie Matthews eventually returned to her homeland of Jamaica, where she died of cancer in 1993.