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Tunis Campbell: Guide


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. 

Books by Tunis G. Campbell

Related Books & eBooks

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More Films

Websites & Online Resources

Reconstruction Images

Montage of several prominent black men from 1883

Distinguished Colored Men

This poster was published in 1883 by A. Muller & Company, and features Frederick Douglass, Robert Brown Elliott, Blanche K. Bruce, William Wells Brown, Md., Prof. R.T. Greener, Rt. Rev. Richard Allen, J.H. Rainey, E.D. Bassett, John Mercer Langston, P.B.S. Pinchback, and Henry Highland Garnet. Source: Library of Congress

Illustration of a black man casting his first vote

The First Vote

The First Vote by Alfred R. Waud. From Harper's Weekly, November 16, 1867. Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

First African Americans elected to U.S. Congress, 1872

Senators and Representatives

This is a group portrait of the first African Americans elected to the U.S. Congress during Reconstruction: Robert C. De Large, Jefferson H. Long, H.R. Revels, Benjamin S. Turner, Josiah T. Walls, Joseph H. Rainy [i.e., Rainey], and R. Brown Elliot. The image was published by Currier & Ives in 1872. Source: Library of Congress.



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