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Victoria Earle Smith Matthews

(1861–1907) Victoria was a journalist, author, clubwoman, and social worker. She was born into enslaved status in Fort Valley, Georgia, and was largely self-taught, using the library of the house in which she worked. She was first a "sub" for reporters on the large dailies of New York City, later for other newspapers and magazines. In 1879 she married William Matthews, a coachman, and settled in Brooklyn with their one son, Lamartine.

In 1892 Victoria became the first president of the Woman's Loyal Union of New York, and in 1895, with Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin and others, helped found in Boston the National Federation of Afro-American Women. She was the principal planner of the meeting in Washington, D.C., when the federation merged with the National Colored Women's League, organized by Mary Church Terrell, to become the National Association of Colored Women. Under Terrell, it's first president, Victoria served (1897-1899) as national organizer.
*Courtesy of


Maple Grove Cemetery

Plot: Summit

127-15 Kew Gardens Road, Kew Gardens, NY 11415

Queens County

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