Tunis Campbell

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Tunis Gulic Campbell (April 1, 1812 – December 4, 1891) was an African-American politician of the 19th century, and a major figure in Reconstruction Georgia.


Born in Middlebrook, New Jersey, Tunis Campbell was one of nine other siblings. He was the son of a blacksmith.[1] Campbell served as a Justice of the Peace, a delegate to the State Constitutional Convention, and as a Georgia state senator. He died in Boston, Massachusetts, on December 4, 1891.

Campbell was the principal waiter at the Howard Hotel in New York City for some time (at least from 1842–45), and later wrote a well-regarded 1848 guide to hotel management.[2]

In 1867, with a goal to help freedmen vote, Campbell was appointed to the Board of Registration in Georgia. He was elected to congress as a senator in Georgia in 1868, only to be expelled from office because white congressmen agreed that blacks did not have the right to hold office. He was able to return to office in 1871, but lost a bid for re-election in 1872 and eventually was imprisoned in a Georgia labor camp before fleeing the state.


  1. ^ Hogan, Richard (2014). "Tunis G. Campbell, Sr. (1812-1891)". Journal of African American Studies. 18 (4): 410. Retrieved 22 July 2016. 
  2. ^ Lynch, Matthew, ed. Before Obama: A Reappraisal of Black Reconstruction Era Politicians, Volume 1, p. 167 (2012)
  • Eric Foner (ed.), Freedom's Lawmakers: A Directory of Black Officeholders During Reconstruction (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1996).
  • "Tunis Campbell (1812-1891)", New Georgia Encyclopedia.
  • Tunis Campbell, Sufferings of the Reverend T.G. Campbell and His Family in Georgia. (1877).
  • Edmund L. Drago, Black Politicians and Reconstruction in Georgia: A Splendid Failure (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1982).
  • Russell Duncan, Freedom's Shore: Tunis Campbell and the Georgia Freedmen (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1986).