NOLA civil rights pioneer Matt ‘Flukie’ Suarez talks about his work in the movement

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NEW ORLEANS–Our city has a long list of people that fought for equality during the civil rights movement, but one person you may not know is 82 year old Matt Suarez, or ‘Flukie’ as his friends call him.

As a member of the New Orleans chapter of C.O.R.E., Suarez worked on the campaigns in the city, but Jerome Smith urged him to head north where the effort to register voters was short-handed.

Suarez said, “Jerome presented it in a manner that Dave(Dennis) and George(Raymond) were catching real hell up there and they needed a lot more manpower. They needed somebody to take some of the pressure off of them.”

John Lewis, Matt ‘Flukie’ Suarez, Jerome Smith (Matt Suarez photo)

In 1960’s Mississippi, it was a tall order to get black kids into school, get adults registered to vote, and to exercise their right to vote. Suarez spent a few years there, including Freedom Summer, but the efforts there paid off.

According to Suarez, “It’s still not the way it should be but there’s been considerable movement taken place.”

Upon returning home, Suarez spent decades in local politics and running a daycare with his family, always keeping an eye on the fight for equality. He says that he’s impressed that the current wave of protests for justice has been able to sustain the movement after a few months.

Matt “Flukie” Suarez with kids at the March on Washington (Matt Suarez photo)

“I’m enthusiastic! I’m really surprised a I hope that they continue to go on with their efforts,” said Suarez.

To read the history of Matt Suarez’s journey, click here.

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