Middlesex County and Perth Amboy residents celebrated the official opening of Thomas Mundy Peterson Park, America’s first Black voter, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Thomas Mundy Peterson (289571)

Peterson was a resident of Perth Amboy and the first African American to vote in 1870 in the United States after the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Amendment granted African American men the right to vote nationwide. Prior to the enactment of the 15th Amendment, more than 700,000 African Americans cast votes in the U.S. in various states, according to a report by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

“Thomas Mundy Peterson Park is an example of how, when everyone involved works together, we can create something wonderful for our residents to enjoy,” said Board of County Commissioners Director Ronald G. Rios. “I know that I, and the entire Board of County Commissioners, look forward to seeing this park being used and enjoyed by the people of Middlesex County.”

The new park includes a synthetic-turf, multi-use field that can host soccer or football, a synthetic turf field that is adjustable for softball and baseball, a waterfront walkway with views of the Arthur Kill, interpretive signs exploring the history of the site, and river and park benches. In addition, it will also offer a parking lot and comfort stations for visitors.

“The Thomas Mundy Peterson Park is the result of hard work on the part of the Middlesex County Board of County Commissioners and the City of Perth Amboy who work tirelessly to enhance the quality of life for our residents,” said Perth Amboy Mayor Helmin J. Caba. “This effort was many years in the making and represents more than just a park—it’s a community gathering space that honors a Perth Amboy citizen who played an important role in the history of our country.”