February 12, 2013 at 10:16 AM
Durand–Hedden presents for Black History Month: To Cast a Freedman’s Vote: How a Handyman from Perth Amboy Made Civil Rights History Sunday, February 24 at 2:00 p.m.
On March 31, 1870, Perth Amboy resident Thomas Mundy Peterson dropped a ballot into a box. It was a simple action that took, perhaps, all of a second or two. Yet, in that moment, Peterson made history as the first African-American to vote under the 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Many factors had conspired to make that moment possible, from the bloody Civil War to surprisingly progressive local attitudes. This new presentation by NJ historian, author, and lecturer Gordon Bond, to take place at 2:00 p.m., explores who Thomas Mundy Peterson was, how he came to cast his historic vote and what happened afterward. This talk summarizes the work done by Bond and other NJ historians to tell Peterson’s story. It is a study in race relations that resonates with us even today.
From 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. visitors will also be able to view the exhibit After the Hickories: Roosevelt Park, and the Country Store will be open, with its unique selection of souvenirs and books.
The Durand-Hedden House and surrounding Grasmere Park were designated a Maplewood Historic Landmark in 2006. The Durand-Hedden House and Garden Association is dedicated to telling the story of the development of Maplewood and the surrounding area in new and engaging ways.
For more information, call 973-763-7712. The Durand-Hedden House is located at 523 Ridgewood Road in Maplewood.