Rev. Dr. Hawthorne Matthews

Rev. Dr. H. K. Matthews was born in Snow Hill, Alabama on February 7, 1928 to the late John Henry and Louvenia Matthews. He began his Ministerial Journey with the Preaching of his Initial Sermon in September 1960 and started Pastoring in 1961. He was ordained an Elder in the A.M.E. Zion Church in 1962. His Pastorates include Churches in Florida Conference in Pensacola, Florida. In 1975, he transferred to the South Alabama Conference where he has been Pastoring until the present. He was appointed as Presiding Elder of the Brewton District of the South Alabama Conference in 1984.

Rev. Matthews has been involved in the Civil and Human Rights Movement since Early 1960’s because he felt that this was connected to the Christian Work. He has worked with many of the National Leaders

of the Civil Rights Movement including the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; the late Dr. Ralph Abernathy; the late Rev. Hosea Williams and others. He was named that #1 Political Prisoner in America by the National Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1978.

Rev. Matthews has been given many awards for his leadership in the Civil Rights Arena. In February 2006, the Mayor and City Council of Pensacola, Florida voted to name a 2.5 acre park in his honor. His memoirs “Victory After The Fall” were published in January 2007 and that same year in February he was honored by hundreds of Political and Civic Leaders from throughout the State of Florida and the nation for his many contributions to the Civil Rights Movement. The event was chaired by the Honorable Charlie Crist, then Governor of the State of Florida, a personal friend of Dr. Matthews. 

In December 2007, he was chosen to deliver the Commencement Address for the undergraduates and graduates of the University of Florida where they also bestowed upon him the Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

He is married to the former Ms. Bobbie Avant and they are the parents of two children, Lt. Commander Tisha Drayon Smith; Christopher Jonathan Matthews; three grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.