Reconstruction, 1861-1877– African Americans’ rise to power in the Renaissance of the 19th century. Three historic figures Turner, Campbell and Bradley who were champions of justice for the freedom of black slaves.

Henry McNeal Turner: Turner came to Georgia from Washington, D.C., in 1865 to win the black Republican vote of African Methodist Episcopal Church. He was the most successful black politician of his times.  Turner was a delegate to the Georgia constitutional convention of 1867 and was elected to two terms in the Georgia legislature, beginning in 1868.

Tunis Campbell: during Reconstruction.  Campbell became a prominent leader of the Republican party in Georgia. Campbell
was the most influential African American politician during Reconstruction.  Born on April 1, 1812 in Middlebrook New Jersey, he was the eighth of ten children of free black parents. From ages five to eighteen he attended an otherwise all-white Episcopal school in Babylon, New York, where he trained for missionary service with the American Colonization Society’s program of transporting African Americans to Liberia. In 1832 he founded an anticolonization society and pledged “never to leave this country until every slave was free on American soil.”

Aaron Bradley— In 1834 Bradley escaped to the North to become a lawyer. Due to his legal profession,  Bradley always ranked among the most important forces in Georgia’s politics. In 1865 he returned to Georgia. He was also the most outspoken member of the black delegation to the constitutional convention. In 1868 he was elected as state senator from the First District of Georgia. Lawyers from Georgia have been U.S. Supreme Court justices and attorneys general. One Georgia attorney, Woodrow Wilson, became president of the United States.

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