Journalist, Social Worker and Missionary Victoria Earle Matthews. Born a slave in Fort Valley, Georgia in 1861, she was raised in her master/father’s house after her mother, Caroline Smith, ran away. She returned after the Civil War began, regained custody of Victoria and her sister, and moved with them to New York when Victoria was twelve. Married at eighteen, she soon began a career as a journalist for black publisher T. Thomas Fortune’s newspapers, the New York Globe and the New York Age. She also edited a black woman’s newspaper, Woman’s Era and wrote freelance articles for white newspapers, including The New York Times.
Ms. Matthews was a friend and strong supporter of anti-lynching activist, her fellow journalist, Ida B. Wells Barnett. She also co-founded the National Federation of Afro-American Women with Margaret Murray Washington, the wife of Booker T. Washington.
In 1897, she founded the White Rose Mission, a home designed to protect and educate young, working African American women who were new to New York City. Eventually located at 217 East 86th Street, the White Rose Mission taught practical skills like cooking and sewing along with subjects like the Bible and black history. She died in 1907.