Tracye Matthews

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Tracye A. Matthews is the associate director of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture at the University of Chicago. Her involvement in documentary film and video projects includes work at the award-winning ROJA Productions, where she was the senior researcher for the PBS series Matters of Race, associate producer and co-writer of a ten-part video installation for the National Civil Rights Museum, and producer for project development for the American Experience’s Citizen King. Her work has been published in numerous anthologies and journals including Race and Class, Sisters in Struggle: African American Women in the Civil Rights–Black Power Movement, and The Black Panther Party Reconsidered. She is currently writing a book on the gender and sexual politics of the Black Panther Party. She was a student activist at University of Michigan where she received her Ph.D. in American history. She works with the Hands Off Assata Campaign[1].

Background

Tracye Matthews is a historian, curator, and documentary filmmaker. She is currently the associate director of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture at the University of Chicago, where she served as a Mellon Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in 2004-2005. Matthews was the media curator for the Teen Chicago Project (2004) at the Chicago Historical Society (CHS—now Chicago History Museum).

In 2003, she curated Harold Washington: The Man and The Movement, a major exhibition at CHS commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the election of Chicago’s first Black mayor. Dr. Matthews previously served as a public historian and project coordinator of Neighborhoods: Keepers of Culture, also at the Chicago Historical Society.

In 2006, Dr. Matthews served on the steering committee for the National Museum of Mexican Art’s (NNMA) groundbreaking exhibition, The African Presence in Mexico: From Yanga to the Present. She also produced a video installation and organized scholarly symposiums on Afro-Mexican studies at both the NNMA and the DuSable Museum of African American History. In 2010, she wrote the historical script for the National Urban League’s Centennial Exhibition, which is currently touring the U.S. Matthews’ other involvement in documentary film and video projects includes work at the award winning ROJA Productions, TV Gals Productions and Firelight Media in New York City; and Our Film Works, Exhibit Media, Juneteenth Productions and the Morten Group in Chicago. She has also served on review panels for the National Black Programming Consortium and the Independent Television Service (ITVS).

Presently, Matthews is in pre-production on a semi-autobiographical documentary exploring adoption in African American communities. Matthews was previously an assistant professor in the Africana Studies Department at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her work has been published in numerous anthologies and journals including Race and Class, Sisters in Struggle: African American Women in the Civil Rights-Black Power Movement, The Black Panther Party Reconsidered, and Black Women in the United States: An Historical Encyclopedia. She is currently writing a book on the gender and sexual politics of the Black Panther Party. Ms. Matthews earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and master’s and doctorate in American History from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.[2]

Ella Baker-Nelson Mandela Center

Tracye Matthews is a former director of the Ella Baker-Nelson Mandela Center, Ann Arbor-which was co-founded by Barbara Ransby[3].

Black Radical Congress

In March 1998 “Endorsers of the Call” to found a Black Radical Congress included Tracye Matthews, Chicago[4].

"Support Bill Ayers"

In October 2008, several thousand college professors, students and academic staff signed a statement "Support Bill Ayers" in solidarity with former Weather Underground Organization terrorist Bill Ayers.

In the run up to the U.S. presidential elections, Ayers had come under considerable media scrutiny, sparked by his relationship to presidential candidate Barack Obama.

"We write to support our colleague Professor William Ayers, Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago, who is currently under determined and sustained political attack...
We, the undersigned, stand on the side of education as an enterprise devoted to human inquiry, enlightenment, and liberation. We oppose the demonization of Professor William Ayers."

Tracye Matthews signed the statement.[5]

Ella's Daughters

In 2009 Tracye Matthews was a member of Chicago based organization Ella's Daughters-A network of artists, scholars and writers working in the tradition of militant Civil rights activist Ella Baker[6].

We are a loose network of women who respect and admire Baker’s legacy, and are either interested in or already engaged in work that represents a continuation of her democratic, egalitarian humanistic tradition. We do not want to reinvent the wheel or duplicate or compete in any way with existing efforts. An argument can be made that the potential for a renewed progressive movement already exists and is embedded in the local trench work of organizers like Ella Baker.

Prominent members include Bernardine Dohrn, Camille Odeh and Barbara Ransby.

References