February 24, 2013, 1:00 PM
On March 31, 1870, Perth Amboy resident Thomas Mundy Peterson dropped a ballot into a box. It was a simple action that took, perhaps, all of a second or two. Yet, in that moment, Peterson made history as the first African-American to vote under the 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Many factors had conspired to make that moment possible, from the bloody Civil War to surprisingly progressive local attitudes. This new presentation by NJ historian, author, and lecturer Gordon Bond, to take place at 2:00 p.m., explores who Thomas Mundy Peterson was, how he came to cast his historic vote and what happened afterward. This talk summarizes the work done by Bond and other NJ historians to tell Peterson’s story. It is a study in race relations that resonates with us even today.
From 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. visitors will also be able to view the exhibit After the Hickories: Roosevelt Park, and the Country Store will be open, with its unique selection of souvenirs and books.
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Slavery in New Jersey: A Troubled History is an illustrated 40-page book that traces the evolution of slavery in New Jersey, which began with Dutch settlement in the seventeenth century and continued through the end of the Civil War.