Slave-Turned-Senator, “Abraham Galloway,” A Name Everyone Should Remember

2 Posted by - July 16, 2018 - BLACK MEN, LATEST POSTS, POLITICS

Most people are amazed when they learn that a slave by the name of became a senator of North Carolina. He was one of the first men elected to serve in the North Carolina Senate. A 70th highway historical marker was placed in New Hanover County, North Carolina in honor of . Over a dozen of descendants of Galloways were in attendance at the ceremony.

Galloway-457x610Abraham Galloway was born the son of an enslaved woman and a white man. He spent much of his life living in Wilmington, NC. He soon escaped to freedom by stowing away on a turpentine ship. He joined the abolitionist movement and returned to the South as a spy and an agent of the Underground Railroad. Galloway helped others escape to freedom, including his own mother. He worked to recruit other men to help serve in the Union Army. After the war, he became known as one of the country’s first civil rights activists, and in 1864, he led a delegation of Black southern representatives to meet with President Abraham Lincoln.


In 1868 he was elected to serve in the Constitutional Convention in Raleigh, NC. After the election he was shortly elected into the state Senate. Galloway is noted as being the most famous African-American man in North Carolina during his time. However, many people did not know about him until the highway honor in his name.

“I think Galloway could have been born at any moment, in any time, and he would have been fighting for freedom and justice wherever he was. No world has been created that would have been good enough for Abraham Galloway. He was the most important African-American leader, the most stirring and significant in Civil War America, and he’s a native son of Wilmington and Brunswick and New Hanover counties, and North Carolina, and it’s just wonderful to see so many people here being proud of their native son.” (Historian David Celeski) The marker on the highway reads: “Abraham Galloway, 1837-1870—Former slave. Freedom fighter; Union recruiter and spy; legislator. Lead a delegation that met President Lincoln, 1864. Lived one block east.” (



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