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.