first black voter in NJ

On March 31, 1870, Thomas Mundy Peterson (1824 – 1904) of Perth Amboy, New Jersey became the first African-American to vote in an election under the just enacted provisions of the 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution. He was born in Metuchen to parents that had been slaves owned by the Mundy family. He was a school custodian in Perth Amboy. He was active in the Republican Party and became the city’s first African-American to hold elected office, on the Middlesex County Commission. He was also the city’s first “colored” person to serve on a jury. Decades later, the school Peterson previously worked at was renamed after him.

In New Jersey, March 31st is annually celebrated as Thomas Mundy Peterson Day to mark the rights of all citizens to vote.

He is buried in St Peters Episcopal Church in Perth Amboy.

5 responses to this post.

  1. This is really cool. I’d like to see his grave site in person one day! Thanks for posting this!


  2. Thanks for the information, It is always a pleasure to learn about my ancestors.


  3. Posted by Grace J. Gaines on February 22, 2010 at 9:50 PM

    I am looking for anyone who may be connected to the Thomas Mundy Peterson family. I am a distant relative.

    Thank you


  4. Posted by Maddie Peca on February 9, 2010 at 3:50 PM

    Our school is doing a game on Black Historians First. This was very interesting and a good way to learn about black or Afro American people who may not always be known.


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