On March 31, 1870, Thomas Mundy Peterson of Perth Amboy, New Jersey became the first African American man to vote in an election under the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. He cast his ballot to revise the town’s existing charter. The side he voted for won in a landslide (230-63) and he was elected to the committee to revise the charter
Born in Metuchen, New Jersey, his mother was a slave of who was manumitted at age 21 and his father worked for the Mundy family. A school custodian and general handyman in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, he was very active in the Republican Party. He became the city’s first African-American to hold elected office and first “colored” person to serve on a jury.