Remembering Abraham Galloway, An Unsung Hero Of American History

Abraham Galloway biography


Abraham Galloway, abolitionist, spy, and politician, is an unsung hero of American history. Galloway was born a slave in Smithville (now Southport), North Carolina, on February 8, 1837, the son of an enslaved woman and a white boatman. Little is known about his childhood, but he escaped to Philadelphia in 1857 by hiding in a boat. From there, he took the Underground Railroad to Canada. He was a bright, hardworking young man who rose to prominence in the abolitionist movement. He campaigned for the abolition of slavery throughout Canada and the free states of the United States.

Galloway’s antipathy toward slavery drove him to travel to Haiti in 1860 in order to recruit men to invade the American South. This proved futile, and he returned to the United States at the start of the American Civil War.

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Galloway joined the Union army in 1861 as a spy for Major General Benjamin Butler. He was a supply scout who reconnoitered Confederate territory before Union military action. He learned a lot about slavery from slaves he met while traveling through North Carolina, Louisiana, and Mississippi. He was arrested and imprisoned while scouting in Vicksburg, Mississippi, but later escaped.

He returned to the North in 1863, where he began recruiting Black men to join the Union army. His efforts culminated in an April 28, 1864 meeting with President Lincoln, during which he argued for African American citizenship and suffrage in exchange for Blacks serving in the Union military. By the end of the Civil War, Blacks made up 10% of the Union army.

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Galloway returned to North Carolina after the Civil War. Martha Ann Dixon was his wife. John, their first son, was born in 1865. On October 17, 1868, he was elected as a Republican to the North Carolina state senate. The following year, he was elected as a presidential elector, making him the first African-American to serve in the electoral college.

Many whites in North Carolina reacted violently to the United States granting African Americans citizenship and the right to vote. Racist organizations arose to violently suppress Blacks. The Ku Klux Klan was the most notorious of these, infamous for intimidating, maiming, and murdering Blacks throughout the South. Galloway responded to the violence in North Carolina by organizing a local militia (which is legal under state law); he was elected Commander of the 1st Regiment defense militia. He actively supported the Shoffner Act, which established a state militia to combat the Ku Klux Klan.


Abraham Galloway Marker (Port City Daily)


In 1870 Galloway was elected for a second term to the state senate. His second son, Abraham Jr., was born that year. Later that year, he succumbed to an undiagnosed illness, dying at the young age of 33. His funeral was held in Wilmington, with over 6,000 people in attendance.

Galloway was a self-confident Black man who openly carried a pistol and argued against the use of the N-word. He endured slavery, gained his freedom, and fought for the equality for all men and women in the United States.



Written by How Africa News

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