- Thomas Mundy Peterson
March 31, 1870, Thomas Mundy Peterson (1824 - 1904) of Perth Amboy, New Jersey, United States, became the first African-Americanto votein an electionunder the just-enacted provisions of the 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution. [ [http://www.npl.org/Pages/ProgramsExhibits/Exhibits/aafirsts.html African-American Firsts Remembered - Newark Public Library ] at www.npl.org]
He was born in
Metuchen, New Jersey, to parents that had been slaves owned by the Mundy family.
He was a
schoolcustodian in Perth Amboy. Active in the Republican Party, he became that the city's first African-American to hold elected office, on the Middlesex County Commission. [ [http://www.history.org/history/teaching/enewsletter/volume4/september05/primsource.cfm Voting Medal ] at www.history.org] He was also the city's first "colored" person to serve on a jury.
Decades later, the school where Peterson had worked was renamed after him.
In New Jersey,
March 31is annually celebrated as "Thomas Mundy Peterson Day" in recognition of his historic vote. [ [http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/9899/Bills/pl98/1001_.htm P.L.1998, jr.001 (AJR31) ] at www.njleg.state.nj.us]
List of African American firsts
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