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Tunis G. Campbell
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Politician
    (April 1, 1812-December 4, 1891)
    Born in MIddlebrook, New Jersey
    High-ranking figure in Reconstruction Georgia politics
    Minister, missionary for the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
    Former principal water, later hotel manager
    Vice-president of Georgia's State Republican Party
    Delegate to the State Constitutional Convention
    Appointed Justice of the Peace to the Board of Registration in Georgia (1867)
    Elected as a Georgia State Senator (1868)
    Author of 'Hotel Keepers, Head Waiters, and Housekeepers' Guide' (1848) and 'Sufferings of the Reverend T. G. Campbell and His Family in Georgia' (1877)
    There is no known photograph of his likeness.
    He was ousted from the Georgia State Senate twice.
    He was accused of corruption charges and abuse of power (albeit by powerful white dignitaries).
    At the time, he would have been seen as a surer bet to become a voice for freedmen than the escaped slave Frederick Douglass, who rose to prominence at the same time.
    Part of the reason would seem to be that - while the extraordinarily gifted Tunis had been born/raised free and grew up in the North - Douglass had first-hand familiarity with slavery and presented himself as 'the everyman.'
    As soon as President Lincoln promulgated the Emancipation Proclamation in January of 1863, he wrote a letter with suggestions for organizing the education of future freedmen. Lincoln never responded.
    He was one of ten siblings.
    He opposed the American Colonization Society's effort to send free blacks to Liberia.
    His book on 'Hotel Management' was one of the first known books to outline a plan for racial coexistence/integration.
    He was commissioned by the Secretary of War Edwin Stanton to help resettle black refugees in the region around Port Royal, South Carolina, who had been displaced by Civil War fighting.
    He was later appointed to supervise land claims and resettlement of newly freed people on the five Georgia Sea Islands.
    When ex-Confederate landowners tried to reclaim the islands, he shrewdly purchased 1,000 acres to establish an association for black landowners to make a profit.
    When blacks received the right to vote, McIntosh County swept him into office (he used his office to draft legislation outlawing wrongful imprisonment for blacks).
    By 1868, his St. Catherine's Island fishing/farming community had grown so successful that it attracted the envy of neighboring white communities.
    Facing threats from the Ku Klux Klan, he organized a 300-strong militia of freedmen to protect the settlement.
    He was forced out of office on the grounds that blacks could not legally hold office, and was denied reelection in a race that was rigged with voter fraud.
    When he defended the rights of black sailors on ships docked at a nearby port, he was arrested, convicted, and sentenced to a year's of hard labor at a convict labor camp.
    He was released only a year later, but he emerged a broken, dispirited man afraid to affect change (his time on the chain gang was akin to slavery).

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair


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