February 6: “Black Caesar,” Drug Kingpin Missing since 1973. Author Talk with Ron Chepesiuk

Date: February 6, 2016
Time: 1 p.m.
Cost: Free with Museum admission and free for Museum Members

Ron Chepesiuk will share eye-opening insights into the life and times of Frank Matthews, the first African-American drug kingpin.

Matthews’ intriguing life story ends in an unsolved mystery involving the then 30-year-old drug trafficker who jumped bail and disappeared without a trace in 1973 with a beautiful, teen-aged mistress and estimated $20 million in cash.

In between his birth and disappearance, Matthews, who was known as America’s top cocaine and heroin trafficker in the 1970’s, managed to rise quickly from numbers runner to head of his own drug empire.

Along the way he dared to defy the Mob as well as the Corsican Mafia. Matthews, who rejected threats from the Genovese and other crime groups, was the first African-American crime boss to establish direct ties to the “French Connection” heroin pipeline. Described by a federal prosecutor as “a pioneering giant of drug distribution,” Matthews was arrested in Las Vegas in 1973. By then, his five-year-old criminal organization based in Brooklyn was importing heroin and cocaine from Venezuela and distributing the drugs in 21 states.

The Author Talk will be held Saturday, February 6, at 1 p.m.


Ron Chepesiuk  

Ron Chepesiuk

A native of Thunder Bay, Canada, Ron Chepesiuk is an award-winning author, documentary producer and director, publisher, radio host and screenwriter. He has published thirty-five books and more than 4,000 articles in 350-plus magazines and newspapers, including the New York Times and USA Today. He’s a two-time Fulbright Scholar to Bangladesh and Indonesia, a consultant to the History Channel’s Gangland TV series and a former instructor in UCLA’s extension journalism program. Three of his books have been optioned for movies. His documentary on the Frank Matthews story has been licensed for viewing by the Discovery Channel. He has appeared as an expert interviewee on several crime shows airing on History, Biography, Discovery, Starz and other cable channels. For more information please go to