Tunis Gulic Campbell (1812-1891) was an entrepreneur, author, orator, politician, and community organizer. He spoke out against slavery before the Civil War, sometimes sharing the stage with Frederick Douglass and other renowned abolitionists.
Born free in New Jersey, Campbell rose to prominence in Georgia as a state senator and vice president of the state's Republican Party during the Reconstruction era (1865-1877). He served as an agent of the Freedmen's Bureau, helping to resettle formerly enslaved people on Georgia sea islands, including Sapelo and Ossabaw. He established black communities and schools and organized a militia in McIntosh County to stand up to the Ku Klux Klan.
As "Black Codes" or Jim Crow laws took root in the South, the gains African Americans experienced during Reconstruction began to be overturned and undermined throughout the South, often through violence. Campbell ultimately was arrested in 1876 and forced to work in a labor camp. His life story is told in the book Freedom's Shore: Tunis Campbell and the Georgia Freedmen by Russell Duncan. Actor, director, and producer, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, purchased film and television rights to the biography in May 2021.
This guide includes books, articles, films, and links to online resources that tell the story of Campbell and Reconstruction.
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