John Adams Hyman Edit Profile
He was elected from North Carolina's 2nd congressional district, including counties in the northeast around New Bern. Born into slavery in 1840 near Warrenton, North Carolina, Hyman did not receive any formal education as a child. By 1861, he was working as a janitor for a jeweler named King in Warrenton.
When Hyman persisted in trying to gain an education, at the age of 21 he was sold downriver to a new master in Alabama. In twenty-five years as a slave, Hyman was sold at least eight times. After the American Civil War and the emancipation of enslaved people, Hyman returned to North Carolina in 1865.
He worked as a farmer and pursued elementary studies. Recognized for his leadership, Hyman was chosen as a delegate to the State equal rights convention in 1865 and to the State constitutional convention in 1868. Hyman was elected to the North Carolina Senate, where he served from 1868 to 1874 in the Reconstruction-era legislature.
In 1874, Hyman was elected as a Republican to the 44th United States Congress from North Carolina's 2nd congressional district. He "had swept Craven and seven other counties in the newly created district that became known as the 'Black Second.'" Democrats in the legislature had established the district to try to reduce black influence in politics in other parts of the state, as this was a black-majority area. The freedmen and previously free blacks elected all but two Republican representatives for the next quarter century.
Hyman served for one term (March 4, 1875 – March 3, 1877). After unsuccessfully running for the Republican renomination to Congress in 1876 and losing to Brogden, the immediate past governor, Hyman returned to agricultural pursuits. By 1877, New Bern had become a black-majority town.
Blacks elected representatives to the board of aldermen and the Craven County Commission, until the Democratic-dominated state legislature withdrew the county's authority to govern itself. The county continued to elect at least one black legislator each session to the state house for another decade, as did other majority-black counties in the northeast part of the state. Hyman was appointed as special deputy collector of internal revenue for the fourth district of North Carolina from July 1, 1877 to June 30, 1878.
He moved to Washington, D.C. after being accused of misappropriating church funds and criticized by fellow church members for operating a liquor store. He worked for the United States Postal Service and for the United States Department of Agriculture in Washington, where he died on September 14, 1891. He was buried in Columbian Harmony Cemetery.
Member North Carolina Senate, 1868-1874. Member United States House of Representatives (Republican) from North Carolina, 44th Congress, 1875-1877.