He was one of the first Georgians to attempt to create a truly color-blind society after the Civil War.
Tunis Campbell was born in New Jersey in 1812 to free black parents. Educated at an all-white academy in New York, he joined the abolitionist movement. By the early 1860s Campbell was a married father and part owner of a bakery. In 1863, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton sent Campbell to Georgia to assist the army in resettling former slaves; it was the beginning of a new life.
As a black political leader, Campbell had no equal. He purchased more than 1,200 acres in McIntosh County, established an association of black landowners and built an unprecedented political base in coastal Georgia that protected freedmen from white backlash. He served in the state legislature until the end of Reconstruction despite threats and physical violence.
The most influential African-American in 19th-century Georgia was born in New Jersey on April 1, 1812, Today in Georgia History.