Thomas Bayne (American National Biography)

Chandra M. Miller, "Bayne, Thomas," American National Biography Online, February 2000,
[Samuel Nixon] soon traveled to New Bedford, where he changed his name to Thomas Bayne and began a dentistry practice while maintaining contact with Underground Railroad agents like William Still of Philadelphia. Letters between Bayne and Still reveal that Bayne sometimes sheltered fugitives in his New Bedford home and that Still aided Bayne's advancement by sending medical and dental textbooks. In January 1860 Bayne thanked Still for his "Vigilance as a colored man helping a colored man to get such knowledge as will give the lie to our enemies." Bayne also gained renown in New Bedford as a speaker at abolitionist and temperance meetings, and he served on the New Bedford City Council in 1865.

At the end of the Civil War, Bayne returned to Norfolk, Virginia, to rejoin his family. He immediately became involved in politics, and in May 1865 he chaired a public meeting at which the participants passed eight civil rights resolutions under the title of Equal Suffrage: Address from the Colored Citizens of Norfolk, Virginia to the People of the United States. These resolutions pledged Virginia's loyalty to the Union, decried race discrimination as abhorrent to "patriotism, humanity, and religion," and demanded equal suffrage for black and white Americans. As a member of a committee that testified on behalf of rights for freedmen, Bayne appeared before O. O. Howard of the Freedmen's Bureau in December 1865.
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